Adolph Ortiz, City of Killeen Environmental Services drainage services worker, left, takes a tree from 12-year-old Tierah Martinez, right, to be recycled at the Killeen Special Events Center in Killeen Jan. 5, 2018. Martinez was one of many youth from the Killeen Trojans Volleyball Club who volunteered during the event. (Angela Sims/Killeen Daily Herald)

About 25 million to 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year, and close to 350 million real Christmas trees farms in the United States, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

There are about 4,000 local Christmas tree recycling tree programs in the U.S. — Killeen having one of them.

The annual Killeen Christmas tree-recycling day was conducted Saturday at the Killeen Special Events Center, where about 350 trees were recycled, creating nearly 700 pounds of landscaping mulch this year.

“When people bring trees in, we take them and put them in a machine to be chipped,” said Christopher Frogge, crew leader for the City of Killeen Environmental Services mowing and drainage section. “Once the trees are chipped, we give the person who brought in the tree a bag of the tree’s woodchips to be used as landscaping mulch.”

Frogge said the program helps cut down on the number of trees that end up in ditches, creating drainage issues.

“Recycling trees is a good way to get rid of them and clear up some space,” said Adolph Ortiz, drainage services worker for the City of Killeen Environmental Services.

As an added bonus, local youth volunteered at the event.

“Recycling helps get the trees off people’s hands,” said 12-year-old, Killeen resident Tierah Martinez, who was there volunteering with the Killeen Trojans Volleyball Club. “This is a good way to help our environment.”

Saturday was the last day to recycle trees at the Killeen Special Events Center.

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