Steamboat Springs The Howelsen Ice Arena parking lot is where Christmas trees go to die in Steamboat Springs.
For more than 10 years, the city of Steamboat Springs has provided a place where trees can be discarded and turned into mulch. There is no cost to use the service.
Every year more than 1,000 trees come to the recycling area and are eventually turned into 50 to 75 cubic yards of mulch, city forester George Hine said.
Trees have already started arriving at the designated recycling area, just off of Howelsen Parkway in the northeast corner of the ice arena parking lot.
Trees will keep coming throughout January, Hine said, and some may even show up as late as March.
"It is something we do to give back to the community," Hine said. "We don't want them taking up a bunch of landfill space."
Anything that is not the natural part of the tree, such as tinsel, lights, nails, decorations and ribbons, should be removed because of the danger such items could cause when chipped, Hine said.
The city only accepts Christmas trees and asks that residents do not bring yard brush.
Residents can use the mulch the trees create. The mulch also is free and not intended for commercial users.
Any leftover mulch will be used in city parks, Hine said, but in past years not much has been left for city use. Because of the acidity of pine trees, the mulch should sit for a while to decompose before residents take it, Hine said.
Robyn O'Brien of Waste Management said she advises customers to use the city's recycling service. "That way it gets recycled and people get to take advantage of the mulch," she said.
Waste Management will pick up Christmas trees, O'Brien said, but the tree has to be cut in four-foot sections and bundled. The company also charges $15 for taking Christmas trees.
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