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County, Boy Scouts chip in to help recycle Christmas trees

By PAUL BALCERAK

Staff writer

Anyone who penciled in, “recycle more often,” on their list of New Year’s resolutions can get an early jump on it starting today. Kitsap County and a couple of local Boy Scout troops are all geared up for the annual Treecyling program and will be collecting used trees through most of January.

People with used Christmas and holiday trees can take them to locations throughout the county and have them disposed of for free.

“Having convenient drop-offs cuts down on illegal dumping,” Kitsap County Solid Waste Technician Vicki Bushnell said.

For the Boy Scout Troops helping out, the program functions as a fund-raiser as well as a community service.

“It’s a conservation project because we’re recycling the trees,” Boy Scout Troop 1541 volunteer Angela Henderson said. “It’s our earth and we’ve all got to share it, right?”

Boy Scout Troop 1506 makes up about a third of its annual operating costs for its scout hall from the program.

“It’s a good thing for the boys,” Scoutmaster Mike Heesacker. “They actually love throwing the trees in the back of the truck. It’s a good old-fashioned kind of program.”

After the trees are collected, the county throws them into a wood chipper and makes beauty bark that’s given out to local residents for free. The county will deliver the bark to residents, so long as they don’t live too far away, and give it out as long as their supply allows.

The bark is actually available at other times during the year, whenever the county happens to have chopped down trees. However, they have an increased volume of it during the post-Christmas season.

“This time of year is heavier than the rest of the year,” Bushnell said.

People can contact the county via its Web site, www.kitsapgov.com/sw, or by phone at (360) 337-5777 to get on the “free chips” list.

More than 1,300 people took advantage of the service last year, but that number keeps decreasing and more and more people make the switch to artificial trees. As far as the county is concerned, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“If (people) can buy a tree and reuse it ... that’s great,” Bushnell said.

People who are planning to drop off trees do need to have them in proper shape. All decorations have to be removed, nails from wooden bases must be removed and flocked trees — trees with paint or fake snow sprayed on them — can’t be accepted.

Trees don’t have to be disposed of through the Treecycling program, but Bushnell said it’s the most sensible thing to do because it’s free, whereas other methods of disposal are either illegal (dumping the tree) or potentially costly (taking it to a yard waste disposal site). For more information on disposal methods, people can visit the solid waste department’s Web site.

Kitsap County Public Works and Boy Scout Troop 1506 will be recycling Christmas trees at the following Central Kitsap locations from today to Jan. 15, except where noted:

• City of Bremerton Water Utility Building

3027 Olympus Dr. (East Bremerton), Daily

• Silverdale Recycling and Garbage Facility

8843 NW Dickey Rd.

Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Facility closes at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31.)

• Boy Scout Troop 1506

Tracyton and Bremerton areas

5074 Bunker Street, Tracyton

Dec. 26 to Jan. 21 (anytime)

*Leave suggested donation of $10 in the mail slot in the front door of the Scout Hall. Pick-ups will be made on Jan. 5 in the Tracyton area. Call (360) 697-4312 or e-mail olympicfirs@aol.com for more details.

• Boy Scout Troop 1541

Taco Bell, 3051 NW Bucklin Hill Rd, Silverdale

Dec. 29 and 30 and Jan. 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

*Suggested donation of $5; people also can call for pick-up (360) 698-2242

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