LAYTON -- For those ready to finally finish their after-Christmas cleaning and get rid of the old tree still in the front room, help is on the way.
Several Davis County cities begin Christmas tree pickup this week, and those trees will be recycled.
"Our part with the cities is, if they bring them up and are nothing but Christmas trees, we take them free of charge and turn them into mulch," said Nathan Rich, CEO and executive director of Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District, which serves Davis and Morgan counties.
The same goes for individuals who want to load their Christmas trees into their vehicle and personally deliver them to the Davis landfill's green-waste recycling facility at 1997 E. 3500 North in Layton.
People can turn in their trees at no charge for recycling through Jan. 30.
Mulch can be placed on soil surfaces to retain moisture in the soil, reduce the soil's temperature and reduce weed growth. Mulch is more dense than wood chips and is described in a Wasatch Integrated Waste Management pamphlet as excellent for moisture retention in a vegetable garden.
Normally, Wasatch Integrated Waste sells mulch for $10 a scoop, which covers 1 1/2 yards. However, mulch from Christmas trees is just $5 a scoop.
"It's a little more acidic, and it works well for holding weeds down if you don't mind coming across the occasional wire," Rich said.
Some people forget to take lights off the trees, Rich said, and because they do not scan the trees at the recycling plant, the wires left on trees will get ground up into the mulch.
Rich said every year, when the trees are first turned into mulch, he likes to get a 5-gallon bucket full of the mulch and set it in his office so he can enjoy the smell of the pine trees.
Woods Cross began its pickup Monday, and Syracuse is picking up trees left by the curb throughout this week.
Clinton and Sunset started their Christmas tree pickup Wednesday, while South Weber will begin its pickup at 7 a.m. today.
Fruit Heights will pick up trees beginning at 7 a.m. Friday.
Kaysville, Centerville and Farmington start Saturday. Residents in Kaysville and Centerville should have their trees on the park strip by 6 a.m., and Farmington residents at 7 a.m.
Trees longer than 8 feet need to be cut in half.
Layton has already begun its tree pickup and will continue through Jan. 15, with the pickup coinciding with the regular trash pickup day.
Next week, Bountiful will collect Christmas trees on residents' regular trash pickup day.
North Salt Lake will collect trees Jan. 17, and West Bountiful will collect trees Jan. 17-18, with the trees needing to be left on the curb those days.
Clearfield's pickup will be next week as part of the regular garbage pickup.
West Point residents are responsible for getting the trees to the landfill themselves.
Because the trucks used to pick up the trees are different from the ones that pick up the regular garbage, city officials are asking residents to be patient and understand that all of the trees may not be collected on the same day.
While it is too early to know just how the tree collecting will compare to recent years, Rich said things are going well so far this year.
"We actually start getting the beautiful Christmas tree loads, from our standpoint, before Christmas, when the Christmas tree lots unload what doesn't get sold," he said. "Some of the trees came in frost-damaged two weeks before Christmas."
Preston Lee, the landfill manager, told Rich that, as of this week, the landfill is up on trees compared with this time last year, and the pile looks better.
Rich said he has noticed in the past 10 years a definite decline in the number of trees being brought in for recycling.