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Here’s how to recycle your Christmas tree in Anchorage for free

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: December 28, 2017
  • Published December 28, 2017

Tall Trees arborists Grant Tibbetts, left, and Geoffrey Gill chip Christmas trees at the Jewel Lake Carrs in Anchorage in 2014. The company, which is partnering with ALPAR, will use the wood chips to maintain trails around the city. The Christmas tree recycling program ends Jan. 15. (Loren Holmes / ADN archive 2014)

Looking to recycle your Christmas tree? An annual Anchorage program has returned, letting you offload your tree for free.

From Dec. 28 to Jan. 15, you can drop off your Christmas tree at the Carrs-Safeway parking lots in Anchorage, Eagle River and Palmer.

Look for the designated area with signs and barriers in each parking lot, said Mary Fisher, executive director of Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling. You can drop off your tree at any time of day.

"It's a very popular program. We've been doing it since the mid-'80s, and people really appreciate being able to do something … positive with the tree," Fisher said.

The trees are turned into wood chips, which are then given to schools, the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department, and Alaska Sand and Gravel Co. The chips are used for trail cover, erosion cover and landscaping mulch, Fisher said.

Before you recycle your tree, make sure decorations, lights, tree stands and plastic bags are removed, Fisher said.

The program doesn't accept wreaths because they can't be put into a wood chipper without first being taken apart, and the wires removed.

Also, the trees must be real. "We don't want people to drop off fake trees," Fisher said.

Last year, around 7,500 trees were recycled thanks to the program, which is run by Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling and the Municipality of Anchorage, Fisher said.

For people who would rather have their tree picked up, Anchorage Boy Scout Troop 268 picks up trees in Anchorage and Eagle River for a donation that will go back to the troop. You can call 907-868-8899 or email recyclechristmastrees@gci.net.

Here are some of Fisher's tips for recycling other Christmas goods:

– Recycle string lights at the Anchorage Recycling Center, or Total Reclaim.

– Recycle paper gift wrap and gift boxes along with other mixed papers in curbside recycling, or at recycling centers in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

– Ribbons, though, are difficult to recycle – reuse them instead, Fisher suggested.

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