Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bring One for the Chipper - Eco-friendly disposal of Christmas Trees in Georgia USA.

Welcome to our new article series ‘Innovative Tree Projects from Around the World’. In this series we will be showcasing some of the most fascinating, creative and inventive projects from across the globe and through these we aim to inspire our local community to engage in similar projects of their own.

Bring One for the Chipper - Eco-friendly disposal of Christmas Trees in Georgia USA.

Every December thousands of trees are felled around the world and sold as Christmas trees. When the festivities are over, most of these trees end up in landfill sites or lie abandoned in back yards.

To combat this unnecessary wastage however, enterprising officials in Cherokee county in Georgia USA have come up with an excellent solution that benefits not only the environment but the community as a whole.

This innovative program, called ‘Bring one for the chipper’ was launched in Cherokee county 20 years ago.

Residents are asked to drop off their trees at one of three ‘Bring one for the chipper’ events across the county. When as many trees as possible have been collected, they are recycled into mulch by wood chippers.

The resulting mulch is used throughout Cherokee county for parks, playgrounds, landscaping projects, erosion control as well as for individual home owner use.

Chris Heim, a tree expert in the area, says that since its inception, 5,9 million trees have been recycled. He states that last year alone 164,806 trees were collected, of which 160,462 were recycled into mulch while 2,586 were sunk into lakes throughout the state to provide a natural habitat for fish and the remaining 2,063 trees were used for fuel and other projects.
At one of the drop off events people are given hot chocolate or coffee, as well as seedlings and seed packets to take home, making this an attractive outing for the whole family and an opportunity to promote the greening of the environment.

This fantastic solution to an annual and global problem is a perfect example of how an intelligent recycling project can benefit both people and planet.

Do you think that such a project would be viable in South Africa?

The below photo was taken in Cape Town during 2013. Many South Africans also purchase felled trees which are dumped after Christmas each year. Although our refuse sites will make compost from any green or garden waste that they receive, there could be a far better way to capitalise on the disposal of our unwanted Christmas trees by following a similar approach to our friends in the USA.
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