Recycle your Christmas tree this year with Keep Dawson County Beautiful's annual event, "Bring One for the Chipper."
Each year, beginning right after Christmas and running into the New Year, the county comes together to create one drop-off location for used Christmas trees so that they can be recycled.
The recycling began Dec. 27 and will run until no more trees are brought in. The drop-off location will be at Dawson County Waste and Recycling Center, also known as the Transfer Station, at 946 Burt Creek Rd. in Dawsonville.
The center is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Trees that are collected will be turned into mulch, which residents can collect for free on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Trees must be clean of all ornaments, tinsel and other decorations in order to be recycled.
According to Keep Dawson County Beautiful Executive Director Robbie Irvin, there are numerous benefits to recycling your Christmas tree, especially if you're just not sure what to do with it once Christmas is over.
"Recycling trees keeps them out of the landfills, where they add unnecessary bulk, and off the side of the road," Irvin said. "Also, trees take a long time to decompose in your backyard, and can create homes for snakes."
Irvin said that the advantages of recycling a tree far outweigh having to take it to the recycling center.
"Most people don't have a chipper they can use, so we provide that for free, and people can collect the mulch if they want," Irvin said.
There are even some groups who will collect the trees and put them in the lake, where they serve as natural fish habitats.
Keep Dawson County Beautiful board member Dana Cleveland is the supervisor at the transfer station, and works as the liaison between the group and the recycling center.
"Cleveland is the one out in the trenches doing the hard work for the "Bring One for the Chipper Event"," Irvin said. "He does a great job and we couldn't do it without him."
The "Bring One for the Chipper" event is part of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation campaign. Since its inception over 20 years ago, the program has recycled more than 6 million Christmas trees.