September 22, 2020

By TYLER BATTEN

With so many trees down over the holidays, Waterloo Region Waste Management and residents are actively engaged in efforts to “treecycle.” The process turns Christmas trees and fallen branches into mulch, soil or firewood. There are a few interesting ways this task is being carried out.
Zoos end up becoming a final resting place for many Christmas trees around the world. Elephants, big cats, bears and a number of other animals like to play and sometimes eat Canadian evergreen. Many companies with leftover tree stock, and family donations, make up the bulk of trees which end up at zoos.

“We’re not taking in any this year,” said an African Lion Safari spokeswoman, “because we have some leftover from last year.”

The most likely place regional trees and fallen brush will end up is at the Cambridge Waste Management transfer station site in a mega pile of organic material alongside leaves, food waste and grass clippings.

Waste Management media spokeswoman Cari Howard said, “Christmas trees are the biggest thing we collect all year.”

Due to an unexpected increase in the quantity of downed trees, caused by the ice storm, the Christmas tree collection program was extended until Jan. 18.

Waste Management turns yard waste into fine compost after undergoing a process of aeration which speeds up organic decay. This process can take from six months to a year.

Some homeowners are even turning to kijiji in order to repurpose their destroyed trees.

Following December’s tremendous ice storm a number of kijiji ads were offering free firewood for pickup to individuals who use wood to heat their homes.

Although softwoods such as pine and willow are commonly given away for free because when burnt they give off smoke and go quickly, hardwoods like maple and oak split for firewood can fetch upwards of $400 per cord (128 cubic feet).

Treecycling programs and centralized composting is a relatively new idea for recycling savvy Waterloo Region, which over 30 years ago created the first blue box for centralized recycling in Canada
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