Before dropping off a Christmas tree for recycling, remove all decorations — ornaments, lights, tinsel, garland, plastic wrap, tree stands, etc. Trees that are flocked or sprayed with artificial snow cannot be recycled.
Dates: Now through Jan. 19
Locations: Lake Arbor Lake Park, 6400 Pomona Drive; Stenger Fields, West 58th Avenue at Oak Street
Time: Anytime at Lake Arbor Lake Park; 6 a.m. to dusk at Stenger Fields
More information: Contact the Arvada Parks Department, 720-898-7410
Dates: Now through Jan. 31
Locations: Founders Park, 4671 Enderud Blvd.; Metzler Ranch Community Park, 4175 Trail Boss Drive; Paintbrush Park, 3492 Meadows Blvd.
More information: crgov.com/2892/Christmas-Tree-Recycling
Locations: Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off, 7352 E. Cherry Creek Drive South; Havana Nursery, 10450 Smith Road
Time: Cherry Creek, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; Smith Road, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday
More information: denvergov.org/treecycle
Locations: Bayou Gulch, 4815 Fox Sparrow Road, Parker; Challenger Regional Park, 17299 E. Lincoln Ave, Parker; Fairgrounds Regional Park, 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock; Highland Heritage Regional Park, 9651 S. Quebec St., Highlands Ranch
More information: Douglas County Parks and Trails, 720-733-6990
Locations: Bates Logan Park, 2938 S. Logan St.; Belleview Park, 5001 S. Inca Drive; Centennial Park, 4630 S. Decatur St.
Time: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
More information: Englewood Parks Department, 303-762-2684
Dates: Now through Jan. 17
Locations: Dad Clark Park, 3385 Asterbrook Circle; Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Circle; Toepfer Park, 9480 Venneford Ranch Road
More information: Highlands Ranch Metro District, 303-791-0430
Location: Jefferson County Road and Bridge South Shop, 9509 W. Ute Ave., Littleton
More information: Road & Bridge District II Shop, 303-271-5219
*Businesses and commercial use of this service is not permitted, residents only
*Additional sites may be available at the town/city level
Dates: Now through Jan. 29
Location: Salisbury Park, 12010 S. Motsenbocker Road, east paved parking lot
More information: Town of Parker, 303-840-9546
Dates: Now through Jan. 27
Location: City Park Fitness Center, 10475 Sheridan Blvd., lower parking lot
More information: Westminster Parks Department, 303-658-2192
Dates: Now through the end of February.
Locations: Prospect Park, 11300 W 44th Ave. or Panorama Park, W 33rd Ave & Fenton St.
Time: Daylight hours
More information: Contact Forestry at 303-205-7566
Scott Lamb and his son Patrick pulled into a Highlands Ranch lot and parked next to a pile of discarded Christmas trees. The mound spanned several parking spaces and filled the surrounding park with a fresh piney aroma. Then they set to work untying a 15-foot tree from their vehicle.
Within a few minutes the pair hoisted the tree in the air and tossed it onto the mix of firs. For years, the family used an artificial tree, but now they get a permit to scout and cut down a live one. They found this year’s near Deckers.
“It’s just fun going out and cutting your own tree,” Scott said.
The father and son pulled away, having closed the Christmas season by recycling their carefully selected tree. As they left, seven other men walked back and forth between the pile and a large woodchipper, dragging a tree in each hand to then stuff into the grinding machine and whittle down to mulch.
Assistant Director of Parks, Trails and Building Maintenance Randy Burkhardt said Christmas tree recycling has been offered by Douglas County longer than he’s been employed there, and he’s approaching his 20-year work anniversary. The county recycles on average 4,300 trees each year.
It’s also a longstanding tradition in Jefferson County, said Carlos Atencio, the county’s road and bridge operations manager. Atencio is rounding out 16 years with the county, which has operated its tree recycling program “for as long as I can remember.”
Christmas tree drop-off sites pepper the Denver metro area as counties and municipalities offer the service starting after Christmas, running through the end of January.
MORE: Holiday lights brighten the night
Employees who oversee the programs said recycling offers a service to the community by giving residents a place to take their tree, and provides them with fresh mulch for their yards. Trees are shredded into mulch, which many places offer for the community to pick up and use.
Recycling programs might even save some taxpayer dollars, Atencio said. When people dump trees at inappropriate sites, “we end up having to go out and dispatch vehicles to pick up those trees anyway,” he said. Jefferson County’s program has mostly eliminated dumping at random properties and roadsides, he said.
Mulch in Douglas County is available now and free to anyone. The rules are simple.
You load. You haul. Take as much as you need.
Curt Cloan, a manager with Douglas County Parks, Trails and Building Grounds, said the county’s four locations are open to anyone, including the handful of commercial Christmas Tree lots that have made use of the program in recent years. Jefferson County is limited in space at the dropoff location and only allows residential use of the program, not commercial.
The Lamb family has recycled live trees in Douglas County for about four years. For Scott, it’s a convenient way to dispose of the family’s tree.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Scott said.
The family hasn’t taken advantage of the free mulch yet — they don’t have a great vehicle for hauling it, he said — although he might change his mind moving forward. They always have a need for mulch, he said, and make regular use of the recycling program.
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