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New rules in place for Christmas tree disposal

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(Dec. 28, 2014) – Indianapolis residents who have gotten used to dropping off their Christmas tree at a city park to be mulched will have to adjust to a new disposal plan in 2015 according to our news gathering partners at the Indianapolis Star.

From Jan. 1 to Jan. 30, trash crews will pick up Christmas trees curbside for no charge as a part of the city’s regular trash pickup schedule. Trees will not count against a resident’s weekly trash limit.

Trees disposed of in this manner must have all lights and ornaments removed, be cut into 3- to 4-foot sections and be bundled before going to the curb.

In cart areas, residents can leave trees in addition to two full carts. Hand collection areas will allow trees and up to 10 kitchen-sized bags of trash.

Residents who cannot cut and bundle trees can leave them on the curb to be picked up on their monthly heavy trash day, officials said. If trees are disposed of in this manner, they will count as one heavy trash item.

Uncut trees that are disposed of as heavy trash items will be collected year-round, and it is the only option for residents who dispose of their tree after Jan. 31.

With the new rules in place, officials said, residents will not be permitted to leave trees at Indy Parks as they have in the past.

In response to the new rules, local green advocate Renee Sweany is launching her own Christmas tree collection program.

From Jan. 2 to Jan. 11, people will be able to drop off real Christmas trees in a designated area of Teachers’ Treasures parking lot, 1800 E. 10th St.

RecycleForce will monitor the tree collection lot and will collect old electronics at its nearby facility, according to a news release. Ray’s Trash Service has donated a trash bin and will haul collected trees to GreenCycle, which will accept trees at no charge.

As with the city pickup, trees taken to the lot must be cleared of all decorations and plastic bags before being placed in the bin.

Sweany also hopes to raise money through an online fundraising campaign to cover the expenses associated with collecting and recycling trees. Those interested in supporting the effort can go to www.gofundme.com/treerecycling.

As of Sunday afternoon, the drive had raised $1,200 of its $2,000 goal.

“We welcome Indy residents to bring their trees to Teachers’ Treasures as our mission encourages recycling and repurposing materials all year long,” Margaret Sheehan, executive director of Teachers’ Treasures, said in a prepared statement.

“Our location is supported by strong neighborhood and business associations, along with the many teachers who shop at the store with the school and classroom supplies donated by area businesses and people. This collaboration makes sense for our organization and location.”