Keep Killeen Beautiful mulched 417 evergreens Saturday during its 21st annual Christmas Tree Recycling Day.
“Every year we encourage citizens to bring and recycle their (Christmas) trees,” said Wilfred Brewster, director of Keep Killeen Beautiful.
The program allows residents to mulch their firs and pines, so they can either take home the wood chips or donate the mulch to Killeen’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Reusing the material keeps it from the landfill where it will take up space and cost residents more money, said Peter DiLillo, the city’s recycling center manager.
The city is charged per ton of material placed in the landfill.
Adam Crispin, of Killeen, and his family use the program every year.
“I was trying to figure out the best way to get rid of it, and I didn’t think the dump was the best way,” Crispin said.
Mulching is one of the best ways to get rid of them, DiLillo said.
But, sometimes fish hatcheries will take them and place them in the local lakes to help aquatic animals breed, he said.
“By making use of the mulch, residents are helping conserve water, keeping weeds in control and it looks good,” DiLillo said. “And as it decays, it puts nutrients back into the soil.”
Crispin said it is nice that Keep Killeen Beautiful offers the program despite his family not taking any mulch home.
“We don’t need it,” he said. “Our yard is pretty good as it is. But it is nice to know they offer that service.”
Keep Killeen Beautiful also was giving away 60 Alpine saplings to those who wanted them.
Giving the trees away to people who will plant and care for them helps beautify the city and can contribute to Killeen’s Tree City USA status, Brewster said.
The Killeen Youth Advisory Council, city public officials and city staff volunteered during the program to mulch the trees.
The group’s goal was to recycle at least 400 trees, which they passed by the end of the day.
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