LAWRENCEVILLE - The drought this year kept Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful director Connie Wiggins from buying a live tree for Christmas.
But if the scent of pine needles in your living room was just too important to miss out on, you can still do your part to help the environment by recycling your live trees through Jan. 14.
Last year, more than 100,000 Gwinnett trees were mulched, one out of every three trees that were recycled in the state.
Wiggins said she expects a similar amount this year. Fewer trees may be recycled as fewer trees were purchased amid concerns about water and an economic downturn, she said.
The 23-year-old Bring One for the Chipper event has become a holiday tradition for some families, Wiggins said.
"It completes the circle," she said. "Families buy the tree together; they recycle the tree together."
More than a million trees, each about the size of a washing machine, have been diverted from landfills since the program began. The recycled trees will be turned into mulch for the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, county schools and local parks, Wiggins said. Mulching those areas will help retain water, save landfill space and beautify communities.
"It's something easy people can do and make a big difference," Wiggins said. "It makes people feel good to do something after the holidays."
Trees should be stripped of their lights and decorations and brought to one of the drop-off locations through Jan. 14. The trees will be mulched Jan. 19. To volunteer for that event or for more information, visit the Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful Web site at www.gwinnettcb.org or call 770-822-5187.
SideBar: IF YOU RECYCLE
Tree drop-off locations are:
' Fire Station 14, 1600 Ga. Highway 23
' Fire Station 24, 2735 Mall of Georgia Blvd.
' Fire Station 16, 195 Dacula Road
' Fire Station 17, 2739 Brooks Road
' Fire Station 18, 3600 Braselton Highway
' Fire Station 27, 2825 Old Fountain Road
' Fire Station 5, 3001 Old Norcross Road
' Fire Station 19, 3275 N.Berkeley Lake Road
' City residents only: 2450 Chattahoochee Drive
' Fire Station 8, 2295 Brannan Road
' Fire Station 9, 1900 Five Forks Trickum Road
' Fire Station 15, 275 S. Perry St.
' Fire Station 20, 1801 Cruse Road
' Fire Station 25, 3575 Lawrenceville Highway
' Fire Station 2, 12 Harmony Grove Road
' Fire Station 3, 4394 Five Forks Trickum Road
' Fire Station 22, 2180 Stone Drive
' City residents only: 107 Railroad Ave.
' Fire Station 4, 5550 Spalding Drive
' Fire Station 11, 5885 Live Oak Parkway
' Fire Station 23, 4355 Steve Reynolds Blvd.
' Fire Station 6, 3890 Johnson Drive
' Fire Station 12, 2815 Lenora Church Road
' Briscoe Park soccer parking lot
' Fire Station 26, 6075 Suwanee Dam Road
' Fire Station 21, 474 Old Peachtree Road
' Town Center Park, 370 Buford Highway