Some like to do it immediately after Christmas. Others wait until after New Year's Day or Epiphany. But whenever you take down your Christmas tree, if you wait until the second week of January to haul it to the curb, your tree can be put to use in a number of local coastal restoration projects.
Only real, unflocked, unbagged and unpainted trees qualify for recycling, and they must be stripped of all lights, tinsel, garland, ornaments and tree stands.
New Orleans: Residents are asked to put their trees at the curb — not on the neutral ground — before 5 a.m. on their regularly scheduled second collection day from Jan. 12-14 in areas served by Richard’s Disposal and Metro Services, which cover most of the city. Properties in the French Quarter and the Downtown Development District, which are served by Empire Services, should place their trees curbside before 4 a.m. on Jan. 12.
The project is funded by the city's Office of Resilience and Sustainability. In 2016, more than 6,000 Christmas trees were collected and airlifted by the Louisiana National Guard into Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge as part of a program to create new marsh habitat.
Residents seeking more information should call NOLA 311.
Jefferson Parish: Residents are asked to put their trees out at night on Jan. 11. Progressive Waste Solutions will make one pass through each neighborhood in the parish — including municipalities — to collect trees from Jan. 12-14.
The tree pickups will be mixed in with Progressive Waste Solutions’ normally scheduled trash collection, but the company will be using dedicated trucks for the trees.
Some of the trees will be added to already constructed shoreline fences in Goose Bayou near Lafitte to help protect and restore Jefferson’s coastal wetlands. Other trees will be chipped and used for composting.
The state’s Office of Coastal Management originally funded the project but stopped in 2011. Parish officials said a $25,000 donation from Dyno Nobel, a Westwego-based mining and explosives company, in 2013 continues to fund the project.
Jefferson Parish is looking for volunteers, particularly those with shallow-draft boats, to move trees from a Lafitte staging area to the pre-constructed shoreline fences in Goose Bayou.
Anyone interested should contact the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs at (504) 731-4612.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and must wear layered clothing including long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and closed-toe, sturdy shoes. Hats and sunscreen are recommended. Gloves, safety glasses, life vests, lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. Jan. 14 at Cochiara’s Marina, 4477 Jean Lafitte Blvd. in Lafitte, to move trees to the shoreline fences in Goose Bayou, near the town of Jean Lafitte. If bad weather conditions on Jan. 14 cause a cancellation, the event will be rescheduled for Jan. 21.
St. Tammany Parish: The parish uses drop-off sites for its tree recycling, which takes place from Jan. 3-29.
Residents of the western side of the parish can drop off their trees at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington using the entrance by Lyon Elementary School. On the eastern side of the parish, the designated drop-off location is the old Levee Board building at 61134 Military Road, Slidell.
Trees may be dropped off between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
St. Charles Parish: The Public Works Department will pick up Christmas trees at curbside around the parish on Jan. 6 and Jan. 13.
Drop-off sites will also be available at the East Bank Bridge Park in Destrehan and the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling until Jan. 20.
The trees will be used for coastal restoration in the Bayou Gauche area.