By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Holidays can get messy, but families have plenty of ways to dispose of, or reuse, Christmas items.
The Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency will once again accept real or natural trees at no cost to residents.
Christmas trees can be brought to CCASWA, 4292 220th St., in Clinton, starting Dec. 26. Residents will have the opportunity to utilize this free service until close of business on Jan. 12.
CCASWA is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to noon.
The trees will be re-purposed and reused as wood mulch.
Christmas trees must not have any of the following items remaining on or attached to them: ornaments or ornament hooks, tinsel, garland, tree stand, plastic bags, Christmas lights, wire or any other foreign objects.
While Christmas lights must be removed from trees for disposal, unwanted or non-functioning Christmas light strands can be recycled at the agency as well.
“We’ve always accepted Christmas lights, but we really want to get the word out this year,” Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency Director of Operations Brad Seward said.
CCASWA recycles electrical wiring such as electrical cords, extension cords and Christmas lights, for free year round.
Recycling of electrical wiring is offered through the metal recycling program.
Those who would like to utilize the electrical wiring recycling program, must stop into the office and notify the scale attendant on duty.
Packaging must be separate from the lights. Boxes can be recycled at the Clinton County Recycling dropoff on site. Plastic bags will not be accepted.
Besides bringing trees in for disposal there are other options and uses for trees long after the holidays are over. Bill Holesinger, who operates the Timber Lane Tree Farm in Fulton, Ill., knows the usefulness of the trees firsthand.
“Some people who have ponds use the trees for their fish and others put them outside to be used as a habitat for birds and rabbits throughout the winter,” Holesinger said. “It always makes for good firewood too.”
Holesinger plans to give some of his leftover trees to a local pond owner and burn any that have diseases. So far this season, 730 trees have been sold and he expects to sell about 900 total. The farm that has been running for seven years usually only has about 20 or less trees left over when the season comes to a close.
For more information regarding Christmas tree recycling or any other programs CCASWA offers, call 243-4749 or visit www.ccaswa.com.