SCHUYLER FALLS - Now the holidays have come and gone, it may leave you wondering what you're going to do with that still fresh-smelling Christmas tree. There's one place that has you covered.
Craig Squier, general manager of the Clinton County Landfill, said the facility is again accepting Christmas trees for recycling free of charge through Monday, Jan. 31. The annual grace period, which traditionally begins the day after Christmas, waives the $5 fee charged by the landfill for accepting Christmas trees as brush, said Squier.
"It's a little bit of a savings for them," said Squier. "We're glad to be able to do this for the county residents so they can dispose of them at the brush pile where the material is recycled."
County residents are able to bring their real trees to the landfill where they'll be directed to the brush pile, said Squier. There, residents can unload their trees into the pile and simply drive off when done.
"It's really simple," he said.
The idea of separating trees from other waste in the landfill is not only the law, but environmentally-conscious, said Squier, as the trees are run through a wood chipper in the spring to be used for other projects as mulch.
"And, [trees] are prohibited from going into landfill to conserve space for the type of refuse that needs to go into a lined landfill," explained Squier. "Christmas trees certainly do not fall into that category."
The tree recycling program often brings in hundreds of trees by the close of the program, said Squier.
"It's hard to estimate in terms of volume, but we probably get about 100 to 200 cubic yards of Christmas trees," said Squier. "There's literally hundreds of trees."
Squier noted all trees brought to the landfill brush pile must be free of lights, ornaments, tree-toppers, tinsel and tree stands. Also, if a tree is brought to the landfill in any sort of binding or bag, it must be removed before the tree is left in the brush pile.
"We understand a lot of people will want to bag their trees first to avoid getting needles everywhere," he said.
Wreaths and centerpieces are also still accepted, provided they are also free of any metal, artificial framework or decorations.
The landfill, located at 286 Sand Road, is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Christmas trees may be dropped off during those hours only. Those wishing to dispose of their trees may also check with the respective municipal departments of public works or highway departments as well as their private trash haulers to see if tree pick-up service is offered, said Squier.
Otherwise, people are welcome to call the landfill at 563-5514 with any questions during regular business hours.
"We welcome any questions people might have," said Squier.