Holiday Regift: Recycled trees going back into community

The Shelby County Public Works division is ramping up efforts to recycle used Christmas trees and other holiday greenery back into the communities as a Christmas gift of sorts for Mid-South citizens. From December 23 to January 10, Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands and greenery can be dropped off at the Christmas tree recycling center located in the south parking lot of the Shelby County Showplace Arena at 105 Germantown Road. 
"Since 2008, the popularity of the program has grown, and we've been hitting from 47 tons to 49 tons taken in each year at the Christmas tree recycling center," says Lisa Williams, Shelby County Public Works Environmental Programs Coordinator.
This marks the 16th year for the program and last year more than 40 tons of Christmas greenery were collected and turned into mulch, which is made available for free to the public in the spring and fall during Earth Day or America Recycles events.  
The recycling initiative is part of Shelby County's Sustainable Shelby plan, which focuses on ways to conserve energy and protect natural resources. The initiative is funded by a litter removal grant from the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation.
"Over the past five fiscal years, the City of Memphis has recycled 118,000 tons of traditional recyclable materials, or 29 percent of total waste from residents, and that number is higher than the national average," says Christine Donhardt, Senior Planner at the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability.
She expects recycling numbers to grow over the next 18 months as new 95-gallon, single-stream recycling containers continue to roll out throughout Memphis and Shelby County.
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