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Last year's Christmas tree is this spring's mulch

via Flickr

If you're putting away Christmas decorations and taking ornaments off the tree, Onondaga County's recycling agency wants to make sure that old tree gets re-purposed.

Public works departments throughout the county will be out in the next few weeks picking up old trees. All residents have to do is leave the tree on the curb -- just make sure all your ornaments and tinsel are off it first.

The trees will be turned into mulch or compost, according to OCCRA spokeswoman Kristen Lawton.

"All the trees that are brought into the compost site, we take them and we have this massive grinder that chews up just about anything," she says.

The mulch and compost will be sold in the spring for use in gardens.

The tree pickups are separate from regular trash or recycling roundups. Lawton notes trees should not be put in with the trash.

"Most haulers will not pick up a tree and take it will your regular garbage for a number of reasons, one of which is it just doesn’t work with the machinery they send around," she says.

The other reason you shouldn't put your tree in the garbage, Lawton says, is that disposing of yard waste in your trash is illegal in Onondaga County.

If your town doesn't do a Christmas tree pickup, trees can be dropped off at the Amboy or Jamesville compost sites until Jan. 12. More information on the program can be found on OCCRA's website.