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Parish officials stress importance of recycling old Christmas trees

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GONZALES - Ascension Parish officials began their Christmas tree recycling drop-off event Thursday, hoping residents choose to recycle rather than stick their tree in the trash.

"There's just something about the beauty of the live tree," Ascension Parish public information officer Martin McConnell said, "the smell of the tree, I mean it just adds to the holiday season for a lot of people. But then again, at the end of the holiday season, what are you going to do with that tree?"

The program involves residents dropping their trees at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center. Other's can pick up the trees to be used for a variety of reasons. The others will be chipped.

There are more than 4,000 similar programs across the county, and other Louisiana parishes participate, including East Baton Rouge Parish, which also offers curbside pickup for recycled trees.

"We've been recycling trees from the curb and dropoff locations since 1989," Assistant Manager of East Baton Rouge Recycling Richanne Caraway explained," and we gather around 40,000 to 60,000 trees a year."

There are rules everyone should follow when "tree-cycling," however.

"We can only pick up the ones that are clean," Caraway said. "No ornaments, no bags, no lights that are on them. So clean, three feet away from the other garbage at the curb."

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