LAWRENCEVILLE -- The holidays are over, but that used Christmas tree doesn't have to go to the curb.
For the past eight years, Gwinnett has recycled the most used Christmas trees in the state through Keep Georgia Beautiful's "Bring One for the Chipper" program. Last year, about 31,000 trees were recycled, enough to stretch end-to-end from Norcross to Forsyth, according to Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful Executive Director Connie Wiggins.
Last year's county total represented nearly 20 percent of the 161,319 trees recycled in the entire state.
"Gwinnett was the first community in Georgia to start a Christmas tree recycling program," Wiggins said. "Our efforts to continually recycle the most trees in the state show how committed Gwinnettians are to being the greenest and cleanest place to live, work and play."
This year, official drop-off sites for the "Bring One for the Chipper" program include all Gwinnett County fire stations, minus two -- Fire Station No. 10 (on Russel Road in Lawrenceville) and Fire Station No. 13 (on Buford Highway in Suwanee).
Each of the 28 remaining stations started receiving trees Monday and will continue through Jan. 16. Suwanee's Sims Lake Park will also serve as a collection site.
Trees should be stripped of all lights and decorations prior to drop-off. Artificial trees will not be accepted.
Community volunteers will chip the collected trees into mulch on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Lawrenceville's Bethesda Park. Residents ages 12 and up that are interested in volunteering should visit www.gwinnettcb.org or call 770-822-5187.
The majority of the mulch created will be used to "help beautify Gwinnett County parks," Wiggins said, as well as prevent thousands of trees from going to the landfill.
"The average Christmas tree weighs 20 pounds and fills up almost as much landfill space as a washing machine," Wiggins said.