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End the Holidays on a Green Note

January 05, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Environmental Stewardship

Driving home last week after a brief vacation, I was bummed by the half-dozen or so Christmas trees I saw discarded along the roads and highways. It was obvious their owners had no interest in disposing of them properly and decided to let it become someone else's problem.

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 33 million real Christmas trees are purchased annually in the U.S. (versus 9.5 million artificial trees). Imagine the scrap heap of spruces, pines, and firs we'd have if we all were so careless with our Christmas tree.

Santee Cooper says we can do better, which is why we've partnered with Horry County Solid Waste Authority for the Grinding of the Greens. We're asking Horry County residents to take an extra step and end the holidays on a green note.

Simply remove all lights and decorations and place your tree on the curb or bring your tree to one of the designated collection sites. The trees then will be chipped and recycled into free landscaping mulch. The mulch will be available to all citizens while supplies last, and you can bring your own container to collect the mulch.

Grinding of the Greens continues through Tuesday, Jan. 27 for Myrtle Beach residents and through January 20 for North Myrtle Beach residents. Visit the Horry County Solid Waste Authority website or call 843-347-1651 for more details, including collection locations.

Residents of Berkeley County can call 843-719-2383 for Christmas tree recycling information through January 9, and Georgetown County residents can call 843-545-3463 for more information on any tree recycling programs. If your county is not included here, I encourage you to call your local solid waste authority for more information.

Meanwhile, the state's Department of Natural Resources has some suggestions for ways your unwanted Christmas trees can help fish and wildlife. Be sure to visit their site for details if that's something that interests you.

Here's wishing you a prosperous and fulfilling 2015.