Recycle to avoid dry Christmas tree fire hazard

Updated: Dec. 28, 2016 at 10:50 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock Fire Department officials have responded to a number of house fires over this holiday season.

Most were cooking related, but these festive fire dangers will continue, they said, if people are not careful with their live Christmas trees.

Once the Christmas trees become dry, officials say they need to be taken out of the house. In that condition, they can burn up within minutes.

Hundreds of these trees have been dumped at four city of Lubbock recycling drop-off centers since Dec. 26.

"A lot of people like to start to take their trees down the next day after Christmas," said Penny Morin, the City of Lubbock Solid Waste Collections Manager. "We have roll-offs at our four drop-off locations."

Morin hopes to keep these trees out of the landfill so they can be reused.

"If we can mulch them, that's better than putting them in the landfill," Morin said, "and if it's mulch that someone else can use during the spring and the summer for their flowerbeds, for their trees to be able to keep the water in…that helps when we cannot water as much. It holds in the water."

That means these used Christmas trees will help people plant this upcoming spring.

"People can come and pick up their own mulch to use in their flowerbeds, on their yards," Morin said.

But there are regulations to consider before you can recycle a live Christmas tree in one of these roll-off dumpsters.

"We have to have everything removed, so all of the decorations have to be removed, any plastic," Morin said. "The tree stand has to be removed. Basically, all we want is the tree."

Hundreds of Christmas trees are recycled back into the city of Lubbock each year, Morin said.

"We've been close to a thousand mark, but not quite there," she said.

While there is no pick-up service available, Morin feels confident anyone with a live tree can make this worthwhile trip.

"We're assuming if someone was able to purchase a tree and get it from the store to their home, then we feel that they're able to bring it from their home to one of the drop-offs," she said.

The centers are located at the following addresses:

  • 208 Municipal Drive
  • 1631 84th Street
  • 7308 Milwaukee Avenue
  • 4307 Adrian Street

Starting Jan. 9, 2017, and throughout the rest of the month, the roll-offs will be located inside the gates of the recycling centers. At that time, residents can drop off fresh-cut trees from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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