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Christmas trees get chipper with summer jobs as mulch

January 02, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - When the Christmas tree is relieved of decorations and moved from your living room to the curb, it can find itself in the wood chipper, used by local governments to recycle trees into mulch.

Hagerstown Public Works Director Eric Deike said city workers commit about one week each year to picking up trees that have been placed at the curb. From there, they're taken to a piece of city-owned property and fed into a wood chipper.

The finished product is a low-quality mulch that city workers later spread on embankments to control weeds, Deike said.

"It's a pretty simple operation," he said. "It takes less than a day to do."

He said the only cost to the city is labor and a $200 fee to rent the chipper.

Harvey Hoch, Washington County's recycling coordinator, said people can drop off their trees at the 40 West Landfill at 12630 Earth Care Road, which is just off U.S. 40.

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The landfill accepts the trees for free, he said.

Hoch said the trees are chipped into mulch, which is sold for landscaping purposes.

The sale of mulch - also made from brush throughout the year - brings in about $25,000 a year for the county, he said.

The money is used to buy fuel and to maintain vehicles, he said.

Hoch said people may drop off their trees at the landfill from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The trees should be free of tinsel and other decorations to prevent damage to the wood chipper.

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