The more mulch the merrier

This Christmas tree song says it all:

“O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging.
Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when ’tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!”

Your Christmas tree is brightening your home tonight and when it comes time to dispose of it next week, give it the respect it deserves. If trees could talk, they would ask to be recycled and be given a second life as part of the annual Christmas Tree Recycling program.

For the past 10 years, UNLV Rebel Recycling has been partnering with the Conservation District of Southern Nevada and other local public and private organizations to reduce landfill waste by recycling the trees and creating mulch for local parks and public gardens across the valley.

According to Tara Pike, sustainability and recycling manager at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, valley residents, since 2001, have recycled 94,403 trees creating 10,600 tons of mulch. Last Christmas, more than 15,000 trees were turned into 136 tons of nutrient-rich mulch used for landscaping projects and dust control.

“But we can do so much more,” said Pike. “We estimate that about 200,000 trees will be sold this season, but only about 7 percent of them will be recycled. People buy a tree, put it in their car, and bring it home. Now we want them to reverse that process. Put the tree back in your car and take it to one of the recycling locations. It’s the right thing to do.”

Jennifer Clifford, district manager of the Conservation District of Southern Nevada, said recycling means that instead of 12,600 cubic yards of solid waste, the trees are diverted to landscaping.

“Anyone who participates in the program should consider it a return on their original investment,” she explained, “Donated trees will be chipped into rich organic material. As the mulch decomposes, it provides nutrients that plants need to remain healthy and conserve soil moisture.”

The mulch is given to community gardens and is available to local residents as well. The free mulch will be given away from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 14 at Pecos Legacy Park, 150 Pecos Road, Henderson. Those wanting mulch need to bring their own bag or box, however, Eagle Scouts will be available to help load the mulch into vehicles. Mulch will only be available until it runs out.

What should you do to recycle your tree?

1. Remove all nonorganic materials such as lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, tree stands and any other materials that are not part of the tree.

2. Flocked (sprayed with artificial snow) trees cannot be recycled.

3. Trees more than 5 feet tall should be cut in half.

The trees can be dropped off at any one of several locations throughout the valley from Dec. 26 through Jan. 15.

Assisting with tree pickup is 1-800-GOT-JUNK (1-800-468-5865). The company will come to your home, remove your tree, vacuum up all the pine needles, and then deposit it at one of the designated recycling drop-off points. The cost is $30 but those who schedule a pickup time at receive a $10 online booking discount.

According to Clifford, more information is available at
or like Southern Nevada Christmas Tree Recycling on Facebook.

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