Christmas tree file

The Christmas tree - so green and fresh when you first invited it into your home for the holidays - may be starting to turn brown. Perhaps needles are starting to drop off.

Soon it will be time to let it go. However, Delaware environmental officials say it deserves a better fate than to be left out with your trash.

Delawareans are encouraged to recycle that natural tree. There are several ways to do that.

One is to check with your hauler to see if it will take it away for recycling.

What does recycling a Christmas tree actually mean?

"They grind the tree, and it's used for mulch or other gardening purposes, to put it back into the natural environment," Delaware Natural Resources Director of the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances Tim Ratsep said. "Any time that we can divert material from the landfill and compost it or reuse it for a different use, it extends the life of the landfill."

"Recycling Christmas trees has been an environmentally friendly tradition in the state for many years, and we hope that more Delawareans will continue that tradition this holiday season," DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin added. "We also welcome residents who might be newcomers to recycling their Christmas trees, and thank them for helping to make our environment better."

Designated yard waste sites also accept Christmas trees. Hours and fees may vary so it is best to call ahead.

Ratsep also recommended these preparations:

"What you would want to do is remove any tinsel, anything that's not biodegradable."

Also, remember to remove it from the Christmas tree stand before you recycle it.

If you have any questions, you may call DNREC's Recycling Program at 302-739-9403.

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.