Xmas trees not recycled in Durham

January 13, 2009 5:13:46 PM PST
As the green trucks picked up used Christmas trees from outside Durham homes this week, many might have thought they were headed off to be recycled, ground up for mulch, or put to some other good use. After all, they'd been told to separate them from their regular trash, but that was not the case.Ever since a fire at its landfill in 2006, the City of Durham has not had a place to recycle and reuse yard waste like leaves, branches and grass clippings. Instead, the waste is mixed in with regular trash and sent to a landfill.

Despite that, the City still sends out three different types of trucks to neighborhoods. One collects regular trash, the second recyclables, and the third yard waste. Residents also pay a $60 fee to the county for picking up yard waste.

"You would think we would just cut it up and throw it in with the regular garbage. We're already paying taxes for them to come in and pick up our garbage," offered resident Jim McBride.

If it's not being recycled, why are residents still paying the fee? The City says the fee covers the cost of removal. Plus, the law requires that that items like yard waste and Christmas trees be collected separately.

City managers say the Durham has a special waiver to ship yard waste along with the rest of its municipal waste. The city says it plans to come up with a recycling plan soon.


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