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Orange County

Christmas Tree Recycling Offered

Safety: Five O.C. cities are supplementing curbside pickups with drop-off sites.


At least five Orange County cities will have Christmas tree recycling centers open all or part of next week, officials said Wednesday.

For everybody else--and most residents of the five cities as well--curbside pickup is being offered on regular trash days or a day later.

"Just put them out and they'll be picked up," said Ron Shenkman, senior vice president of Rainbow Disposal, which handles trash pickups for Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley and Sunset Beach. "We've been recycling trees like this for years."

To qualify for pickup, most trash officials say, the trees must be stripped of metal stands, decoration and tinsel. If they are large trees--6 feet or taller--they must be cut in half.

"The whole idea is to get them out of the house and away from the house as soon as possible," said Steve Miller, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority. "These trees are extremely combustible. Any tree that is two weeks or older has probably reached the critical stage."

To avoid fires, Miller said, trees should not be stored next to the house. "We've had people who left them leaning against the house and their houses caught fire," he said.

Under no circumstances should Christmas trees be burned in the fireplace or anywhere else, Miller said. "We've had a lot of fires started that way. People don't realize how fast a fire will spread."

Drop-off recycling centers will be operating at these locations:

* In Irvine, Sunset Environmental Industries, 16122 Construction Circle West. Trees will be accepted through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

* In Laguna Beach, the city employee parking lot, 505 Forest Ave., through Sunday.

* In Mission Viejo at three locations--Youth Athletic Park on Olympiad between Marguerite Parkway and Melinda Avenue; the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way at the east end of the parking lot; Home Depot, 27052 Hillcrest Ave. Trees will be accepted during regular business hours through Jan. 11.

* In Santa Ana, Home Depot stores at 3500 MacArthur Blvd. and 1750 E. Edinger Ave. through Wednesday.

* In Tustin, the parking lot of the Columbus Tustin Gym at Prospect Avenue and Irvine Boulevard, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Residents of Laguna Woods may call (949) 597-4600 to schedule a pickup. Residents of Orange needing pickup after Wednesday may schedule one by calling Waste Management of Orange, (714) 637-3010.

All others may leave trees at curbside--or wherever they usually leave trash--on regular pickup days. Pickups in several cities will be a day late through this week due to the holiday.


Times staff writers Tina Borgatta and Dave McKibben contributed to this report.

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