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Chipping away at waste

I watched as the rain fell from the sky. Fog laid thick on the ground assuring a day of wet, unruly weather. I had planned for a solid week to finish removing the Christmas decorations from the outside and taking the tree to “a better place” to live out its life. It was “Bring One for the Chipper” day and I was not going to let a little London-esque weather spoil my commitment to Georgia or mother Earth. So, I zipped up my parka, loaded the Christmas tree into the bed of the truck, and headed to Griffin, Georgia to have it chipped up. Bring One For the Chipper is Georgia’s annual Christmas tree recycling program. Each year, Keep Georgia Beautiful, a not-for profit program in the state, works with private sponsors to organize the recycling event. In the past, these statewide sponsors have included The Home Depot and WXIA-TV. Numerous local sponsors and volunteers also make contributions and provide in-kind services across the state. When I arrived at the Jackson Road location of Cabin Collection I was met by five enthusiastic volunteers that were there not to just take in trees but to also assist with the recycling efforts of the county. I explained why I was there and before I could finish with my rehearsed monologue they pointed me to a rather large pile of Christmas trees and a mound of chipped up mulch. It was a tree hugger heaven and just the mere site of such rich mulch got me excited. I pulled to the pile, threw my tree somewhere around the base, and grabbed a few shovel loads of mulch. In less than an hour, on a rainy day in which I had nothing else to do, I was able to recycle my Christmas tree, and get some spreadable mulch for my spring veggie garden. I basked in my success on the ride home and felt for the first time since arriving in Barnesville that I had done something enriching for the sustainability of my community. It is important to note that The Chipper program involves hundreds of Georgia communities and thousands of volunteers. Since its inception, the program has recycled over 4.8 million Christmas trees. The mulch from these trees has been used for playgrounds, local government beautification projects, and individual yards.

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