Don't trash your Christmas tree. Recycle it.
"It's a wonderful way of disposing of something that would otherwise be sent to the waste-to-energy plant or the landfill," said Julia Jablonski, solid waste program coordinator in Clearwater, one of several cities offering holiday tree recycling.
Instead, your tree can become useful mulch, Jablonski said.
In Largo, because of wrapping paper and Christmas trees, waste increases by 25 percent during the holidays, said Marissa Segundo, recycling coordinator
"By making sure we recycle (trees) correctly, we're able to divert that from the waste stream," Segundo said.
But before you recycle, make sure to prepare your tree. Remove all decorations, including hooks, garland, tinsel and lights. Keep the tree loose, not in a bag or a can. And if you live in an apartment or a condo, place your tree near the trash bin, but make sure you don't block access to it.
These north Pinellas County cities offer Christmas tree recycling programs:
Belleair Bluffs: For details, call (727) 584-2151.
Clearwater: Curbside collection with yard waste on regular day. Call (727) 562-4920.
Dunedin: Curbside collection with yard waste on regular day from Dec. 28 through Jan. 15. Residents without curbside yard waste pickup can plan a pickup day with their association. Call (727) 298-3215.
Largo: Curbside collection with yard waste on regular day. Call (727) 587-6760.
Oldsmar: Drop-off collection at 107 Shore Drive W, across from Park Boulevard. Open from Dec. 28 through Jan. 8. Call (813) 749-1262.
Safety Harbor: Curbside collection with yard waste on Wednesdays. For more information, call (727) 724-1550.
Tarpon Springs: Drop-off collection at yard waste facility (898 S Levis Ave.; fee charged) or curbside collection with yard waste on regular day. For more information, call (727) 943-4837.
In addition, any Pinellas County resident can recycle a Christmas tree by dropping it off at the Pinellas County Solid Waste Operations facility at 3095 114th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. The cost is $3 per load for a maximum of five trees. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (727) 464-7500.