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Recycling the last symbol of the season


Area nonprofit organizations and local garbage collectors will recycle your Christmas tree

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BOY SCOUT TROOP 707 - Gresham Boy Scouts Troop 707 has been recycling Christmas trees since 1990 as a fundraiser to offset summer camp fees for troop members.

Making the last symbol of the holidays go away — the Christmas tree — could be as easy as dragging it to the curb on garbage collection day.

But if you’re willing to stuff the tree into the Family pickup and take it to a donation site, you could be helping area groups raise funds.

Boy Scouts Troop 707, in the Orient area of Gresham, has been recycling Christmas trees, wreaths, swags and garland since 1990, said Jerry Lawson, troop committee chairman.

On average, the group collects about 300 trees each year, turning them into compost through recyclers with Metro Regional Services.

The annual event is a fundraiser for the troop, Lawson said, and generally garners between $700 and $900 for the group’s treasury over two weekends.

Funds are used to subsidize troop members’ summer camp fees.

“The number of groups who support the Boy Scouts has declined over the years, so it puts a lot of the financial burden on the boys to pay for camp,” Lawson said. “This is a big help for them.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BOY SCOUT TROOP 707 - Boy Scouts Troop 707 collects more than 300 Christmas trees each season, which are taken to a Metro compost site.

Boy Scouts Troop 707 will accept trees and other evergreen decorations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5-6, in the parking lot of Gresham Fred Meyer, near KeyBank, at 2497 S.E. Burnside Road. Cost is $5 per green or flocked tree and $2 for wreaths, swags or garlands. Pick-up services are available within a limited area; call Lawson at 503-312-1265 to learn more.

Gresham’s two garbage haulers will also take that dead tree off your hands, like they do each year, as part of their yard debris pick-up service.

Waste Management and Gresham Sanitary Services will haul the tree away on your regular garbage collection day, at no extra charge, in place of your yard debris container. Green or flocked trees cannot exceed 6-feet in length, although trees more than 6-feet will still be picked up, provided they are cut down to smaller lengths. Trees must be free of tinsel, lights and other decorations and should not be bagged. Also, thoroughly check your tree before dragging it to the curb, to make sure you don’t accidently dispose of any heirloom ornaments.

You also can recycle decorative wreaths, swags or garlands through your garbage collector. Strip the greenery from its frame and remove all wire, tinsel and ornamentation before leaving the remnants in the yard debris container.

And don’t throw away those strings of holiday lights that barely survived, or didn’t survive, the season.

Portland-based Far West Fibers recycles odd items, including holiday light strings — bulbs and all. A collection box is located in the lobby of Gresham City Hall, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway, through Thursday, Jan. 3. You can deposit unusable lights between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. City Hall will be closed Tuesday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day.

Additional Christmas tree recycling options include:

Boy Scouts Troop 544:

Albertsons parking lot, 25691 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 5-6. Cost is $5 for a green tree, $10 for a flocked tree and $3 for wreaths, swags or garlands. Pick-up services are available within a limited area. Call Bob Pierce at 503-349-4683 for more information.

Allwood Recyclers:

23001 N.E. Marine Drive, Fairview; 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed New Year’s Day. Cost is $2 for a green or flocked tree, $2 for wreaths. Please remove all ornaments, ribbon and wire from greenery.

Boy Scouts Troop 606:

12505 N.E. Halsey St., Portland; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 5, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6. Cost is $5 for a green tree, $8 for flocked, $3 for wreaths, swags or garlands, or free with tree drop-off. Pick-up services are available within a limited area. Call 503-348-978 for more information.