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Christmas trees go out to the curb, into the grinder

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The Columbus City Garage crews have found that some people are sentimental about Christmas and some, well, aren’t.

The crews will begin picking up Christmas trees today and some people will take advantage of the service immediately, putting their tree out for collection early this morning, said Bryan Burton, manager of the city garage. In fact, some don’t even wait to take off the decorations.

“That is pretty common actually,” Burton said. “There is a Christmas tree lying there on the side of the road. It will have cheap ornaments on it and the lights. They think it is just cheaper and easier to throw it out than to store it for a year.”

City workers would appreciate it if residents would strip the trees before throwing them away, Burton said. Otherwise the workers have to spend time removing the unwanted decorations. Last year, the city collected 1,026 trees, Burton said.

And occasionally trash crews will come across an artificial tree thrown out as if it were real. Burton said a better destination for those trees would be the reuse barn at the Bartholomew County Landfill, or Sans Souci.

Decorations or not, the live trees end up in the back of a city garbage truck where they are compacted, before heading to their final destination, where they’ll be shredded for mulch.

“We take them to the compost site, bring in a grinder and mulch it,” Burton said. “It gives that pine-mulch smell.”

Even outside of the holiday season, Burton recommends residents take care to only put out plant material with their yard waste, to avoid contaminating the mulch with debris.

Even the largest public Christmas tree in the city will be headed to the mulch pile, Burton said. On Jan. 2, city workers will take the ornaments and lights off of the Christmas tree at Columbus City Hall. They will chop it into manageable pieces and feed it into the grinder.

While there are some who are quick to get rid of their Christmas trees, there are residents on the other end of the spectrum, Burton said.

“We have come across them in May,” Burton said.

The city will make special Christmas tree collection routes through Jan. 11.

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