Residents must tote tree to grinder

The Christmas and holiday season evoke a mood of giving each December, resulting in a pile of boxes, red and green wrapping paper and a tree barely holding onto its needles.

That's right, it's 2009 and it's time to clean out that pile of gift-giving leftovers.

Waste disposal companies and composting agencies have options for getting rid of the waste as well as a few rules they want the Sequim-area population to know.

The city of Sequim will grind and compost Christmas trees at no charge at the city yard this year. There is no curbside pickup but city public works staff are ready to process the tree if it is dropped off at 169 W. Hemlock St. any Friday and Saturday between the hours of noon and 3 p.m.

"The only requirement is that they bring a driver's license or water bill showing they live in the city of Sequim," said Lorrie Gilchrist, Public Works administrative assistant. "Also, only Christmas trees are free. All other yard waste will be processed as we normally do."

The city yard charges $2 for one bag of yard waste, $5 for a carload and $10 for a standard pickup truck load.

Another option for Christmas tree disposal is the Lazy J Tree Farm, 225 Gehrke Road. Farm owner Steve Johnson said he will grind and compost trees for free and welcomes the community to drop off trees during daylight hours any day of the week.

"If we're not there, they can be dropped off and we may even have a special 'toss' point so people don't have to go all the way back to the grinder," Johnson said. "You didn't have to buy your tree here to get it grinded here. I will probably have a different area for wreaths, too."

Johnson and Gilchrist said the trees must be free of flocking, ornaments, tinsel and any other foreign objects.

Trees aren't the only recyclable holiday waste; some wrapping paper is recyclable and nearly all cardboard can be reused rather than going into a landfill.

"We like people to check if their wrapping paper is recyclable," said Rebecca Biasell, customer service agent for D&M Disposal, the firm Sequim hired to handle waste management. "Plus, they need to take off bows and ribbons if the paper can go in the recycle bin."

D&M Disposal does not do curbside pickup of yard waste in the Sequim area. Its partner company, Murrey's Disposal, which does waste management in the unincorporated areas of the county, also does not do curbside yard waste or Christmas tree pickups.

"There's nothing saying they can't cut up their tree and dispose of it in the garbage," Biasell said. "But composting is probably a better way to go."

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