MESA, Ariz. - 'Tis the season - to say goodbye to the season.
It's past Christmas, and those beautiful light-wrapped trees glistening with ornaments are not so fresh anymore.
"They’ll bring them here, then our crews will collect them, then they’ll be composted, mulched and used for other applications," said Mariano Reyes with the City of Mesa.
Recycling gives the pine needles a new life. Although it's just Dec. 27, dozens of Arizonans have already dropped off trees, ready to move on from 2020.
However, the pile is much smaller then it used to be years ago.
"We would collect anywhere between 20 to 25 thousand trees per recycling season," said Reyes. "Now it’s more like 4 to 5 thousand trees, and I think [it's because] folks are switching over to artificial. It’s a little bit safer in the sense [that] you don’t have a dried out Christmas tree."
A dried out Christmas tree can be a disaster. Dried trees can easily - and quickly - ignite.
"The minute you start seeing that tree not look as fresh, the needles are dropping off, we definitely encourage you...to take down that tree," Reyes said. "Get out of your home as quickly as you can because it only takes seconds for the tree to completely become engulfed in flames."
And one last thing before you move on from your one-month decoration - check it once, and then check it twice.
"We always tell folks before you dump your tree, make sure you give it one good look over, remove all your ornaments," said Reyes. "Account for all the family heirloom ones, so we don’t run into a situation where you may not be able to get that ornament back."
Crews occasionally find heirloom ornaments on the branches, so if you do forget them, give Mesa a call. Maybe the Christmas spirit will be on your side and they have it in a lost and found box, stored safely before your tree becomes mulch for next year's crop.
More on Mesa's tree recycling program: https://www.mesaaz.gov/residents/trash-recycling/christmas-tree-recycling
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