Recycling Christmas trees made easy

As part of a community service, Kauai Nursery and Landscaping will team up with KQNG radio and Garden Isle Disposal to recycle Christmas trees.

It is the ninth year in a row that the three businesses are offering the free service to residents and businesses.

Kaua’i County will also allow the disposal of trees as part of its residential greenwaste disposal program.

The yearly tree recycling project helps keep trees out of the Kekaka landfill, helping to extend the facility’s life, and off Kaua’i roads and remote country areas that have been convenient dumping areas for trees in the past, creating visual eyesores.

This year, Kauai Nursery will receive trees 24 hours a day from December 26 through January 31.

Those recycling trees are asked to remove ornaments, tinsel and flocking (fake snow that is sprayed on the trees) prior to depositing trees at the nursery’s entrance gate (look for signs) located at 3-1550 Kaumuali’i Highway in Puhi. The business is located next to BEI.

This year, Kauai Nursery anticipates receiving between 400 and 500 trees, the same number received last year, said Steve Pilkington, nursery manager for the Puhi company.

The number of trees received last year and the number anticipated to be dropped off this year are up from past years, a good sign that people are concerned about the proper disposal of the trees after the holiday season, Pilkington said.

Once dropped off at the Kauai Nursery facility, the trees will be turned into mulch that could be used “in-house” by the company or sold, Pilkington said.

As part of the recycling effort, Garden Isle will put a 20-foot long container behind KQNG radio on Halenani Street in Lihu’e, said Steven Kaui, who is charge of sales and customer service with Garden Isle.

Once the trees are put in the container, they will be brought to Kauai Nursery for disposal, Kaui said. This project also runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 31.

People should remove tinsel and ornaments and flocking snow from the trees before dropping them off in the container, Kaui said.

Kaui said the recycling project is a valuable service to the community.

If the services were not free, Garden Isle would normally charge $295 to haul the container to the Kekaha Landfill and would pay the county another $56 for every ton of trees put in the landfill.

At four tons per container, the cost would be about $224, bringing the total hauling and disposal cost to $519, Kaui said.

Before trees are dropped off at the Hanalei, Kapa’a, Lihu’e and Hanapepe transfer stations, decorations should be removed from the trees, said a Kaua’i County Public Works Department official.

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