As Mardi Gras season begins, it’s officially time for East Baton Rouge residents to begin hauling their Christmas trees to the curb.

Curbside pickup for recycled Christmas trees begins today and will run through Jan. 19. If you miss the deadline, the city also has five drop-off locations established across Baton Rouge that will be accepting trees through Jan. 26.

East Baton Rouge Parish is offering curbside pickup for parish residents, except in Zachary and Baker, which have their own garbage and recycling services. Trees must be bare — no wrapping, stands, decorations or flocking — and placed at least 3 feet from the curb and nearby garbage. Any trees not meeting the criteria will be disposed of with the regular garbage collection.

A release from Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome encourages residents to be patient with tree pickup and says it may not run on the same schedule as usual garbage collection. Residents should leave their trees curbside until they’re collected.

The recycled trees will be chipped, burned and turned into compost for redistribution in the community. City recycling manager Lisa Mahoney said the trees have been used a variety of ways over the years, including for coastal restoration efforts, mulch in the community and landfill cover for local waste disposal sites.

Mahoney said the composting approach, a new initiative in partnership with Organic Products, LLC, is a full circle way to give back to the city. For each ton of Christmas trees donated, Organic Products will give a ton of compost back to the city. Mahoney said the city collects on average 80 tons of Christmas trees each year.

The five drop off locations are:

  • Independence Park (lot off Lobdell)
  • Highland Road Park (14024 Highland Road)
  • Memorial Stadium (lot near Scenic and Foss)
  • Flannery Road Park (801 S. Flannery Road)
  • LSU (Skip Bertman Drive across from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine)

Follow Katie Gagliano on Twitter, @katie_gagliano.