Keeping Quay cleaner

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

The stocking’s unhung, the boxes unstuffed and the Christmas tree stands naked, dried up and shedding — waiting to be put to rest.

But there are better ways to dispose of trash and has-been Christmas trees than simply stacking them into a dumpster or hiding them in an alley, according to a couple of environmentally-conscious Web sites, one dedicated specifically to the New Mexico area, another focusing exclusively on the Christmas tree.

Don’t throw the old tree away, says the site, for there are a few things one can do with the tree — no matter how naked and shedding it now seems.

Before one begins, however, the site cautions to sweep up any loose needles, as they tend to clog vacuum cleaners; the easiest way to get the tree outside is to encase it in a large plastic bag.

Once outside, anyone who owns a mulcher has it easy, the site said, for evergreen trees are biodegradable and their branches may be chopped off, chipped up and used as mulch in the garden.

The site also suggests placing the tree in a garden or backyard for use as a bird feeder. In addition to providing a sanctuary for the feathered friends, the site suggests dappling the branches with fresh orange slices or strung popcorn — but making sure to remove all hooks, garland, tinsel strands and decorations.

The tree can also be used as sand and soil erosion barriers, the site said, or serve as food and shelter for fish in private ponds.

A word of caution is also thrown forth — the site said to never burn the Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove as it may contribute to the buildup of creosote, or a dangerous mix of chemicals.

To broaden recycling into a year-round event, Waste Management of New Mexico has created a new Web site at for tips and tricks on waste disposal, recycling and refuse.
Although no Web site section or program is dedicated specifically to Quay County, residents can find mounds of information from which they may benefit, the site said.

Like a fast trip down recycling facts, one that points out the value of recycling, the site said. After all, the site said enough plastic bottles are thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.

Short of a full-fledged community effort, the site also points out how individuals and families can bulldoze their own recycling efforts. Some of their tips include buying items that have already been recycled, like aluminum or steel cans. Their Just 4 Kids section contains links to interactive educational games and puzzles as well as ideas on how to build a compost pile in the yard or a worm box to compost vegetable and fruit scraps.

Waste Management of New Mexico’s General Manager Calvin Ivy said, “The website will assist visitors in accessing a wide variety of information relating to waste management disposal services available. One of its goals is to provide information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. New information highlighted on the website includes what we are doing to keep the community clean, in addition to information about the landfills we operate in New Mexico.”

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