With holiday season over and business back to usual, crews at the county’s landfill are working to convert thousands of Christmas trees into mulch.
The county’s Christmas Tree Recycling program has been up and running for the past two weeks and thousands of trees have made their way to the landfill via curbside pickups and drop-offs at five locations across Loudoun. Once delivered to the landfill, crews feed the trees through a 34-ton tub grinder, turning them into pine-scented mulch that’s free for anyone to pick up at the landfill’s recycling center year round.
According to Recycling Specialist Tony Hayes, the county on average produces more than 100 tons of mulch from the trees each year—92 tons last year, 129 tons in 2017 and 154 tons in 2016. Of that amount, about 80 percent comes from curbside pickups.
Hayes said that while it’s difficult to determine how many trees contribute to those numbers, since they vary in size and are typically dehydrated by the time they make it to the landfill, thousands are mulched each season. If an average tree weighs 50 pounds, that means the county recycled more than 3,500 of them last year.
Not all of the trees are delivered in a fully natural state, though. Many of them are littered with plastic bags, ornaments and lights. Hayes said that the landfill even gets some artificial trees, which are not recyclable.
“It’s really hard to turn that into a nice mulch product,” he joked.
Residents wishing to recycle their Christmas trees with curbside pickup have until the end of this week to do so. This year, Patriot Disposal, Republic Services and KMG Hauling are the three participating waste disposal companies.
Residents also have until Sunday, Jan. 20, to drop their trees off at one of five collection locations—the landfill’s recycling center, the Lovettsville Game Club, Franklin Park, the South Riding HOA Town Hall and Claude Moore Park.