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Mayor Villaraigosa and LAFD urge Angelenos to recycle their Christmas trees

City News Service | 12/21/2012, 8:47 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Fire Department officials today urged Angelenos to recycle their live Christmas trees in order to boost recycling and reduce fire hazards.

The mayor and Fire Chief Brian Cummings demonstrated how to recycle the trees properly this morning at a fire station in the Cypress Park neighborhood.

Residents can recycle trees in three ways: by cutting them into pieces and placing them into the green yard-waste bins, by leaving the trees intact on the curb next to the green bins on collection days and by dropping the trees at one of 21 drop-off sites on Sunday, Jan. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"This holiday season every Angeleno can give a gift to Mother Nature by recycling our Christmas trees," Villaraigosa said. "If every Angeleno pitches in and recycles their Christmas trees, together we can increase recycling so significantly that we will lead the nation in waste diversion and reduce the number of Christmas tree-related fires in the City."

Firefighters respond annually to more than 200 Christmas tree-related fires that cause, on average, 10 deaths and more than $10 million in property damage, according to the mayor's office.

"Dried-out Christmas trees create a significant fire hazard," Cummings said. "That's why, for the safety of everyone in your household, it's important to ensure that Christmas trees are watered, cared for, and removed from the home soon after the holidays."

The city began recycling trees in 1992 and now turns about 100,000 treesper year into mulch and compost, which are used throughout the city.