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How to toss your tree

Trees pile up at a tree drop sites at the Sac and Fox Trail on Bertram Road. (CBS2/FOX28)

Christmas comes with a lot of decorations and now you have to start taking them all down including the tree.

If you have a live unflocked tree, there are a few ways to get rid of it.

first you can use regular curbside pickup in Cedar Rapids as long as you tree is striped of ornaments and cut into three foot sections or you can toss it off whole at one of two drop sites.

Sites are located at the Sac & Fox trail parking lot, Bertram Road and Wilder Drive SE, and Prairie Park Fishery, 2125 Otis Road SE.

Trees dropped at Prairie Park will be collected and used as fish habitat when the ice melts this spring.

Trees dropped at Bertram Road will be ground up and used as mulch at the Indian Creek Nature Center.

any tree dropped at these sites bust be totally clear of ornaments, tinsel or any other plastic to protect wild life.

"It becomes litter, a lot of it doesn't break down organically.” says Jean Wiedenheft, Director of Land Stewardship at Indian Creek Nature Center. “Birds can pick that up because it looks interesting and exciting, they can try to make nests out of it they, can choke on it, they can get tangled up and die in it,” she adds.

It also can ruin the natural experience when people hikers find ground up garbage scattered along the 5 miles of trail.

“The worst thing is to do something good like recycle your tree and then just turn it into litter for somebody else to go and pick up," explains Wiedenheft.

A detailed list of instructions from the city of Cedar Rapids is found below.

Live Tree Disposal (un-flocked)

The Cedar Rapids Solid Waste and Recycling Division collects live Christmas trees as part of the yard waste collection service.

Un-flocked trees will be collected Tuesday, December 26th through January 15th.

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 that are no larger than 2 feet in diameter

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.

To protect the safety of our crews, please make sure trees are placed at the curb height for collection. Items placed on top of snow banks will not be collected.

Drop-off Locations for live, unflocked trees:

The Parks and Recreation Department has set up two sites for disposal of live Christmas trees. Trees will be accepted beginning December 26 at the Sac & Fox trail parking lot, Bertram Road and Wilder Drive SE, and Prairie Park Fishery, 2125 Otis Road SE. All tinsel, ornaments, decorations, stands, watering packets, tree wrap and netting must be removed from trees prior to disposal. Flocked trees, wreaths and garland cannot be recycled. Both sites are open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Signs indicating drop off areas are posted at each location.

Flocked Trees

Flocked Trees are considered a garbage item. Trees must be cut into 3 foot sections and each section must have a $1.50 garbage sticker affixed before being set out with your garbage.

Artificial Trees

Plastic trees are also a garbage item. There are no recycling opportunities for plastic Christmas trees in the area. If you can set your artificial tree out for collection in 3 foot sections, a $1.50 sticker is required for each section.

If you cannot separate your artificial tree into sections, please call the Solid Waste & Recycling Office at (319) 286-5897 to set up a special pick-up of your tree. The tree will be collected with the Bulky Item Collection Program. The cost of collection will be $5.00 and added to your next municipal utility bill.

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