/ Modified jan 2, 2022 11:11 a.m.

Live Christmas Trees can still be recycled at various local locations

The tree mulching sites set up in Tucson, Oro Valley and Marana will be open till January 17.

Treecycle Dropping Trees off at Rillito.
Christopher Conover/AZPM

If you haven't disposed of your live Christmas trees yet, you still have time. There are a variety of tree mulching sites set up in Tucson, Oro Valley, and Marana open for the next two weeks.

Cristina Polsgrove, a spokesperson with the City of Tucson Environmental and General Services department, said before dropping off a tree everything from the lights, ornaments, tinsel to its stand needs to be removed. Once clean, it's safe for people to mulch the tree, which the city then composts.

"It's going to break down. It's a natural product. It will decompose. It's not something that eventually is going to get thrown away and never break down," Polsgrove said.

She said the composting program started in April at the Los Reales Sustainability Campus…formerly known as the Los Reales Landfill.

The compost is only being used at parks and other public spaces, but she said once the program grows, the city hopes to use it in other ways throughout the community.

"A lot of people think that, 'Well we're in the desert. We don't really grow that many things. We don't need compost,' but it actually contributes to your moisture retention in the soil, as well — really important for our desert climate," Polsgrove said.

Recycling a dry tree also reduces fire danger in the home. The Tucson Fire Department told AZPM in 2019 the best practice for those decorating with a live tree is to dispose of it within a month of bringing it home.

The City of Tucson's TreeCycle Program will be accepting trees till January 17.

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