Christmas tree recycling programs scheduled for area parishes
Don Ames Reporting
Don't be in a hurry to get rid of that Christmas tree now that the holiday's behind us.
There's still plenty of life left in the tree, as it can be used to give new life to the state's coastline.
Local parish governments are urging folks to keep those trees up for a while yet, or stored, for collections in January.
New Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and Terrebonne parishes all have Christmas tree recycling programs planned for use in various coastal restoration programs throughout the state.
Jason Smith, Coastal Program Supervisor for Jefferson Parish, says the trees will be recycled and used to refurbish Christmas tree cribs out in the marsh.
"These cribs help protect the shoreline and also trap sediments once the suspended solids or the organic material in the water can flow through it and settle behind it," Smith says. "So we can have some emergent marsh and aquatic vegetation grow between the cribs and the shoreline."
He says it's a great public awareness tool "to bring awareness to our coastal wetland loss, which is a huge issue for the state of Louisiana."
Artificial, flocked or painted trees are not eligible for the program.
All Jefferson Parish residents, including unincorporated areas, the Town of Jean Lafitte, Gretna, Harahan, Kenner and Westwego are advised to place trees curbside on the evening of Wednesday, January 9, 2013. Garbage trucks will make one pass through each neighborhood to collect trees within the dates of January 10, 11, and 12, 2013. In years past, trees were typically collected on the second scheduled garbage collection day.
Residents wishing to participate in the program are asked to remove all lights, tinsel, garland, ornaments, tree stands and plastic bags from their Christmas trees and leave them on the curb for collection.
Volunteers are needed in Jefferson Parish, especially those with shallow draft boats, to move trees from a staging area to within pre-constructed shoreline fences. Volunteers will meet at 8:00 a.m. at Cochiara's Marina, 4477 Jean Lafitte Boulevard in Lafitte and move trees to the pre-constructed shoreline fences in Goose Bayou, near the Town of Jean Lafitte on Saturday, January 12th. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, wear layered clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirt, and closed-toe, sturdy shoes. Hats and sunscreen are recommended. Gloves, safety glasses, life vests, lunch and refreshments will be provided.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs at (504) 731-4612.
Orleans Parish residents can recycle their Christmas trees by placing them curbside on their regularly scheduled collection days January 10, 11 and 12. The trees must be natural, with all ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree stands removed. Flocked and artificial trees will not be collected, and trees should not be placed on the neutral grounds. Trees should not be placed in plastic bags.
The City's Department of Sanitation, Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs and the Materials Management Group are making possible the effort to collect, sort, and bundle the trees, which will be placed in selected coastal zones.
The Orleans Parish project is funded by the general fund budget of the Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs at a cost of approximately $9,000.
"New Orleans is earning a great reputation as an eco-friendly city," says Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "This service is one of the ways our citizens can help protect and restore our environment. Together, we can save thousands of trees from being thrown out to waste and also provide critical support to help preserve our wetlands."
Plaquemines Parish also plans to collect Christmas trees after the season to help rebuild wetlands in the coastal parish.
The parish garbage collection company, Solid Waste North and South, will pick them up at curbside after the holidays.
The parish also is collecting used cooking oil, which will be turned into bio fuel to be used in Plaquemines.
Officials said residents can bring used cooking oil to the Solid Waste North facility at 170 Sewer Plant Road in Belle Chasse or 135 Compacter Road in Port Sulphur.
Residents of Terrebonne Parish are asked to place their Christmas trees in the area of their normal garbage pickup from January 2, 2013 to January 8, 2013.
Terrebonne residents can also drop off their Christmas trees at the TPCG Residential Drop-off Sites located at 263 Ashland Landfill Road, 651 Isle of Cuba Road in Schriever or 160 Crochetville Road in Montegut.
The Christmas trees collected from Terrebonne Parish are placed into retention fences along the Intracoastal Waterway near the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge.