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Discarded Christmas trees go onward to renewed uses

Kyle Wickline, 17, of Mill Creek stacks cut Christmas tree branches in a compost recycling dumpster from Rubatino as part of Everett Boy Scout Troop 114’s annual collection of old Christmas trees at Jackson Park in north Everett on Sunday, Jan. 3. The troop took in nearly 200 trees during the two-day weekend event, where the trees were cut apart and stacked into the dumpster for recycling into compost.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — The tradition of boy scouts recycling Christmas trees is as synonymous with the holiday season as milk and cookies. For decades, Boy Scout troops have been collecting trees after Christmas to serve their community and create something useful from the death of a tree.
Everett Boy Scout Troop 114 met at a local park on Jan. 2 and 3 to collect Christmas trees from the community. Although the collection was free for everybody, a small contribution was suggested. Trees were dropped off and the scouts put them into a large garbage collection bin donated by Rubatino Refuse Removal. Scoutmaster Gary Bazzel said Rubatino has contributed the service every year they have worked with them.
Recycling Christmas trees has become more than simply grinding them down to use as bark for flower beds or wood chips for parks and trails. In past years, Rubatino has sold the recycled tree material to be used as biomass to power a steam turbine creating electricity.
Bazzel said this year is different. Tree material removed by Rubatino will be recycled by Cedar Grove Composting to be recycled into compost or mulch material. Because trees are biodegradable, the material can be reused instead of taking space in an already crowded landfill. Cedar Grove grinds the tree material up with food scraps to create a compost.
Boy Scout Troop 20 will be holding a similar tree recycling collection event on Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sunday, Jan. 10, at Thornton Sullivan Park, 11405 Silver Lake Road. Trees can be dropped off Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A few other scout troops are doing curbside pick-up rather than a centrally located drop-off, making recycling the tree as easy as taking out the garbage.
Cedar Grove Composting is also doing free tree recycling at their Everett location, 3620 36th Place NE on Smith Island, for Everett residents.
Another option, if available, is a curbside compost waste bin. Waste Management offers this service to its Snohomish County customers. Trees are required to be cut into sections four feet or less.

Live Christmas tree program in Monroe
Those who purchased a living Christmas tree in a container and don’t intend to plant it on your own property, may donate it to Monroe city parks so that everyone can enjoy it for years to come. Call the Parks & Recreation office at 360-863-4519 for information on how to donate your potted living Christmas tree. For additional information visit



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