Recycle that Christmas tree

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By Denyse Clark

Christmas has come and gone and if you're wondering what to do with the live tree that beautifully accented and scented your home last week, there's new hope for that old evergreen. 

City and county officials offer residents a means to pare down on timber waste and at the same time, provide a free, healthy by-product for nature's soil. 

City of Lancaster Sanitation and Maintenance Operations Director Marty Cauthen shared how city residents can recycle old Christmas trees with easy curbside service.

“They need to put them (the trees) out with their usual trash on the regular pick up date,” Cauthen said. “Our workers may not get them all with the first pick-up but we will get them.”

Lancaster County Public Works Director Jeff Catoe also encourages the community to get involved in the recycling effort and safely discard unwanted Christmas trees.

“We will take them at all sites except two – Unity and Tradesville,” Catoe said about the trees. “They will be ground up for recyclable mulch.”

Trees are recycled at the McGill convenience site, 3103 Kershaw Country Club Road, where mulch is then made available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis after it dries out. 

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) licensed the Kershaw convenience site as a land clearing and compost site. 

In rural areas, discarded Christmas trees can be put to good use as erosion control or as brush piles to provide resting and escape cover for small animals. 

In addition to benefiting small game such as quail and rabbits, brush piles constructed of Christmas trees can help birds such as sparrows, towhees and wrens. 

Biologists with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Freshwater Fisheries Section use discarded Christmas trees to maintain many fish attractor sites, which are clearly marked by buoys, at all major reservoirs. 

Once on the lake bottom, Christmas trees and other suitable materials provide a surface where aquatic insects live and grow. County residents can take trees to one of 11 convenience sites during regular site hours. 


• Public Works – 1980 Pageland Highway

• Fort – 5330 J.B. Denton Road

• Race Track – 273 Shiloh Unity Road

• Erwin Farm – 3122 Bethel Road

• Lynwood Drive – 1349 Lynwood Drive

• Rich Hill/Primus – 4202 Joshua Tree Drive

Heath Springs

• Heath Springs – 173 Solar Road


• Kershaw – 6491 Old Lancaster Highway

• McGill – 3103 Kershaw Country Club Road

• Midway – 4125 Payne Road

Indian Land

• Indian Land – 401 Jim Wilson Road


Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152