Christmas tree recycling and holiday clean-up tips - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Christmas tree recycling and holiday clean-up tips

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

All of eastern Iowa's major metro areas offer Christmas tree pick-up as part of their regular curbside services.

In Waterloo, the Waste Management Services Department will pick up trees curbside from Jan. 8 through Jan. 18 on customers' regular garbage days. People can also drop off their tree at the department itself at 3505 Easton Ave. in Waterloo from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Jan. 2 through Jan. 20. This is for Christmas trees only. The city will not accept any flocked trees and asks people to cut trees into lengths of no more than four feet. Anyone with questions can call Waterloo's Waste Management Services Department at 319.291.4553.

In Cedar Rapids, the city is collecting live Christmas trees as part of its yard waste collection service. The city asks people to remove all wires and decorations from the tree and cut trees into lengths of no more than three feet. Cedar Rapids also accepts the trees in the YARDY cart for collection, as long as the lid can still close.

In Iowa City, refuse and recycling curbside customers can leave their live trees and garlands curbside from Jan. 7 to Jan. 25. The city will compost these items at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. The landfill also accepts Christmas trees year-round. People with questions can call the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center at 319.887.6160.

Dubuque is once again conducting its "Merry Mulch" Christmas tree collection and composting program. That runs Jan. 7 through Jan. 18. Customers can leave their trees and garlands curbside on their regular garbage collection day. The city asks people cut trees into lengths of no more than five feet. The tree must have either one City Brush Tie attached, which cost $1.30 each, or one yellow City Yard Waste Sticker attached, which cost $6.50 for a sheet of five. Both are sold at City Hall and most grocery, discount and hardware stores throughout Dubuque. Annual 2013 decals are also acceptable on rigid containers and are sold at City Hall.

When it comes to packing up paper from presents, not every material can go in the recycling bin. Cardboard boxes and paper envelopes are just fine, but most recycling center's don't accept tissue paper and wrapping paper. That's why it's a good idea to save tissue paper and re-use it next year.

Those who find their live Christmas tree has created a sticky situation with its sap on the carpet might try dabbing the area with some rubbing alcohol, experts recommend. However, it's important to spot check a hidden area of the fabric first to make sure no discoloration will happen.

If Santa brought a new phone, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a web page about how to recycle old phones. Experts caution people to make sure they clear their personal data from the phone before recycling or donating it.

Of course, any driver will want to ensure he or she has a phone while driving, in case of an emergency.

In Iowa over the last 10 years, a total of 38 people have died in motor vehicle accidents over the Christmas holiday, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. Only five of those were due to driver impairment, meaning those 33 other fatal crashes had contributing factors such as road conditions, excessive speed, weariness and distraction.

Linn County sent out the following information for its cities:

What to do with Christmas trees

- Solid Waste Agency: accepted at both locations, $5 flat-fee

Locations: 1954 County Home Road, Marion; 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids

Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Saturday at 1954 County Home Road, Marion

7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Monday - Friday at 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids (Winter hours at 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids, go through March 31, 2013)

- City of Cedar Rapids: collects live Christmas trees as part of the yard waste collection service

Preparing the tree for curbside collection:

Remove all ornaments, wires and decorations from the tree

Do not place the tree in a plastic bag

Remove any stand or other metal objects from the tree

Cut the tree into 3 foot sections

The tree can be placed at the curb on your collection day. You may also put the tree into the YARDY cart for collection, but make sure the lid can close

Flocked Trees

Flocked Trees are considered a garbage item. Please cut the tree into 3 foot sections and place the tree out with your normal garbage. A $1.50 garbage sticker is needed on each 3 foot section of tree

- City of Marion: free curbside pickup from Dec. 26 - Jan. 11; tree must be free of decorations, no stands, and not flocked

- City of Mount Vernon: City offers curbside pick-up through January

- City of Bertram: contact hauler

- City of Ely: Residents can dispose of Christmas tree at the Ely Public Works area, 1124 Vista Rd., Dec. 26th - Jan. 18th for free. Trees must be cleared of all decorations except for flocking. For further details or directions to the drop-off site, call City Hall 848-4103. Waste Management will not pick up Christmas trees curbside

- City of Fairfax: Johnson County Refuse will pick up Christmas trees on Jan. 07; have them out by 7:00 a.m.; tree must be free of decorations, no stands, and not flocked. Flocked trees can be put out with regular garbage

- City of Hiawatha: contact hauler

- City of Lisbon: Johnson County Refuse will pick up Christmas trees on Jan. 07; have them out by 7:00 a.m.; tree must be free of decorations, no stands, and not flocked. Flocked trees can be put out with regular garbage

- City of Walker: contact hauler

- City of Central City: Residents can take Christmas trees to the yard waste pile near the sewer plant on 8th Street South and leave there for free

- City of Coggon: Leave out for collection by Rudd with three tags if under six foot; if over six foot, cut in half, and add three additional tags; or take to Solid Waste Agency for $5

- Alburnett, Center Point, Palo, Prarieburg, Robins, and Springville residents should contact Rudd Sanitation or their city clerk to find out what days they are picking up Christmas trees. Rudd recycles them through the Indian Creek Nature Center. Rudd can be reached at 319-438-6563

What to do with Christmas lights

- Can be recycled for free at both Solid Waste Agency locations as part of the electronics recycling program; recycling is free for Linn County residents because the Solid Waste Agency subsidizes the recycling programs to make recycling free and convenient for residents

- Christmas lights CANNOT be recycled curbside in any community

What to do with wrapping paper

- Throw it away; wrapping paper cannot be recycled because of the lack of good quality fiber, combined with the volume of "sheen", or foil, coatings.

- Use gift bags instead

What to do with plastic, cardboard, paper

- Bring to either Solid Waste Agency location and recycle for free

Locations: 1954 County Home Road, Marion; 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids

Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Saturday at 1954 County Home Road, Marion

7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Monday - Friday at 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids (Winter hours at 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids, go through March 31, 2013)

What to do with unwanted electronics

- All electronics, including big screen TVs, computer monitors, DVD players, VCRs, stereos, and more, can be recycled for free at both Solid Waste Agency locations. The Solid Waste Agency subsidizes the recycling program so Linn County residents do not have to pay!

Locations: 1954 County Home Road, Marion (where we have a staffed recycling drive-through to help unload); 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids (near Czech Village, unstaffed drop-off area)

Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Saturday at 1954 County Home Road, Marion

7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Monday - Friday at 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids (Winter hours at 2250 A Street SW, Cedar Rapids, go through March 31, 2013)

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