Campaign gives trees second life

LAWRENCEVILLE - Even after Christmas you can still give a gift - your tree.

Clippings from recycled trees will be donated to beautify landscapes at local schools, playgrounds and parks, courtesy of the "bring one for the chipper" recycling program.

"It's the gift that keeps on giving," said Lynne DeWilde, Suwanee spokeswoman.

In addition to beautification, tree recycling benefits the community by bringing hundreds of volunteers together and saving precious landfill space.

"Christmas trees take up as much landfill space as a washing machine," DeWilde said.

Since its inception in 1987, the chipper program has recycled 4 million Christmas trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, and diverted an estimated 1 million Christmas trees from landfills.

For the past five years, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful's annual Christmas tree recycling program has recovered the most trees in the state, recycling 75,000 trees in 2004.

Residents may bring their tree, stripped of all lights and decorations, to one of the drop-off locations through Jan. 8. Artificial trees are not accepted.

All are invited to the Suwanee town center to swap out their Christmas tree with a seedling tree they can take home Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., DeWilde said.

Those interested in volunteering should call 770-822-5187 by Friday. All volunteers must be at least 12 years old to participate.