Holiday cleanup begins in county

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2005

Everyone dreads taking down Christmas trees.

First to go are the ornaments, followed by the tinsel and lastly the lights.

But one of the hardest tasks during after-holiday cleanup is figuring out how to discard of live Christmas trees.

None of the towns throughout Crenshaw County have set policies on disposal of the festive trees, but some do offer services to assist in discarding them.

"We don't have a policy on that," Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport said. "If anyone has real trees, they just need to put them by the road and we'll haul them off and dispose of them. It's just like when residents trim the hedges or bushes. We don't recycle them."

Sport said the city has disposed of the trees several different ways throughout the years. He said this year the trees would either be hauled to the city's property that runs adjacent to the lagoon next to Luverne School or to the county landfill.

"It just depends on how many we have," he said.

After all the dried out Christmas trees are collected throughout the city, Sport said they will be burned.

The Town of Rutledge will also use the county landfill to get rid of all its residents' discarded trees.

"We normally just pick them up during our weekly debris pick up," Rutledge Mayor Joe Dexter Flynn said. "Usually everyone doesn't have them ready the week after Christmas, but after the first of the year they should all be picked up."

The Town of Brantley is taking the same approach as Luverne and Rutledge. Officials have designated a plot of land for the trees to be hauled away to and later burned.

"We want the residents to put them out beside the road and we will pick them up," Brantley Town Administrator Larry Morgan said.

As for the Town of Petrey, Mayor Curtis Petrey said there isn't any plan for tree disposal. The town doesn't have any public service departments to haul the trees away and its garbage service, Arrow Disposal, will not haul them away.

"The residents will have to take care of their own," Petrey said. "Most of our residents don't have real trees, but the few that do have to take care of their own. The county won't pick them up and Arrow won't pick them up, so we have no choice."

Several larger municipalities recycle the discarded Christmas trees and use them to help with beautification projects. The City of Montgomery's Sanitation Department has designated drop off sites for its residents and will use a chipper to turn them into mulch for use in the parks.

Sport said to his knowledge the council has never proposed the possibility of recycling the trees.

"I don't recall it ever being talked about," Sport concluded.

Flynn is fond of the idea of recycling the trees, but believes his town is not large enough for such a project.

I know some larger cities have recycling, but I don't think we're big enough to do that," he said. "It takes a lot of volume to do that."