63ºF

Do this before you throw out your Christmas tree

Lights, decorations need to be removed

Improperly disposed-of Christmas lights fill a large dumpster at the Waste Management Recycling Brevard plant in Cocoa in this file photo.
Improperly disposed-of Christmas lights fill a large dumpster at the Waste Management Recycling Brevard plant in Cocoa in this file photo. (Brevard County Solid Waste Management Department)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – After New Year’s Day, tens of thousands of Christmas trees across Brevard County will end up discarded at the curb — where tinsel and garland can scatter and wind up polluting the Indian River Lagoon.

And strands of Christmas lights can get tangled in mechanical equipment inside the Waste Management Recycling Brevard plant in Cocoa — causing the entire facility to shut down, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

[TRENDING: How to get vaccine in Florida | Map: Navigating the Convention Center vaccine site | Most prolific serial killer dies]

“People have been throwing their trees to the curb. We’re glad to collect those trees. But we don’t want to collect them if they’re laced with tinsel and lights and things like that — because they’ll end up going to the dump and getting buried,” Brevard County Communications Director Don Walker said.

“If they’re clean off all that stuff, we can recycle them and use them as mulch,” Walker said.

Brevard County residents can set out live Christmas trees at the curb on their regular yard waste pickup day. Trees are hauled off, ground up and mulched.

The mulch is available for free at the Mockingbird Mulching Facility in Titusville (321-264-5048); Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa (321-633-1888); and Sarno landfill in Melbourne (321-255-4366).

Residents should call to check the availability of free mulch, and they should bring containers, bags and shovels.

The Brevard County Solid Waste Department typically hauls 15% to 20% more waste to landfills during the holiday season between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.

OK to recycle

Cardboard boxes (flattened), paper gift boxes, plain wrapping paper (no glittery paper), holiday cards and envelopes that don’t have glitter or glued-on decorations.

Do not recycle

Christmas lights, plastic shopping bags, shipping and packing supplies.