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The Best Time To Discard Your Christmas Tree?

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) – The new year is here and for many that means saying goodbye to their Christmas tree. Many of the decorative trees that lit up house holds and guarded presents throughout the country are now laying bare on street curbs, waiting to be collected by sanitation workers.

However, some refuse to say goodbye to their Christmas tree when the new year starts. Two Utica residents WIBX spoke to for this report said they plan to keep their trees up until the end of January, if not later. One gentleman explained why, “I don’t know, it doesn’t really look so bad, I like Christmas trees, they look good. Another person said, “Cause it’s pretty.”

However, others weren’t so attached to their Christmas tree. One man said, “I took my tree down already because there’s no sense to have it up–the holiday is gone.” Another said, “Because you want to keep it preserved, you know, until the next Christmas, besided if you keep it up something could happen, you know.”

And, he’s right. According to City of Utica Fire Chief Russell Brooks, the sooner you get rid of your Christmas tree, the better. Brooks said, “In a matter of seconds, a Christmas tree can produce a 20-foot flame, which makes it the most flamable object in your home.” Brooks goes on to say that it’s not uncommon for firefighters to pull up at a burning building and see smoke and fire coming from windows and, “One window right in front you see the silhouette or the outline of a Christmas tree burning.” Brooks says Christmas trees dry up quickly and are volatile to keep around after January 1st.

Other comments received from Facebook contributors when the question was post include, “January 6, the Epiphany and the 12th day of Christmas. My mother always took down the Christmas tree January 7.” Another comment was, “Legitimately, Jan 6th-Feast of the Ephiphany. But since I refuse to follow rules, I left it up till June one year and used it as a birthday party tree!” And another contributor stated, “I keep mine up until someone says, “want help taking it down” which was may of last year…”

Dave Lupinsky, spokesperson for the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority also recommends putting your tree on the curb by the first of the year. He says the trees are easily recycled and used as compost or mulch. “What people should do is contact their local municipality, because virtually every community in Oneida and Herkimer County–the Villages and the Cities–provide curb-side collection of their green waste, and they figure on that two week period after Christmas as a time when they want to get those Christmas trees off the street.” Also, OHSWA will accept trees all year long free of charge at its Recycling Center on Leeland Ave, in Utica.

Lupinsky says Christmas wreaths and artificial trees are not recyclable because of the wiring and plastic used to construct them, and recommend throwing them out with regular garbage. To learn how you can get rid of your Christmas tree, contact the solid waste authority at, or at, (315) 733-1224.

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