01/10/14 — City collects trees; turns them into mulch

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City collects trees; turns them into mulch

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on January 10, 2014 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro sanitation worker Billy Langston crushes a discarded Christmas tree in the back of a city sanitation truck in the Central Heights neighborhood. The leftover trees will be ground up and recycled into compost.

Just because the official end to the Christmas tree pickup is scheduled for today doesn't mean procrastinators will not be able to get rid of their last remnant from the holidays.

The Goldsboro Public Works Department has picked up more than 400 Christmas trees to date, and with two days left of its route cycle, expects another 100 to come in by today.

Public Works Director Jose Martinez said sanitation workers will continue to pick up the trees along with other branches and leaves on recycling days along their normal routes on alternating weeks.

"So at my house I know recyclable materials were picked up last week, but where you live could be a different route," Martinez said.

What day recycling is picked up depends on where on the city route someone lives.

For those in an apartment complex without a trash can, Martinez suggests calling their landlord to ask what to do with their tree.

If your decorations are still hanging on, don't despair, Martinez said.

"We pick up leaf and limb with the other recycling every other week," Martinez said. "Just put it out on the curb and we'll get it."

Martinez said not to put the trees in dumpsters because then they won't make it to the right place.

Once the trees are collected they go on to the city's compost facility with all of the other "leaf and limb" waste.

At the compost facility, the trees are ground up and sent on through the rest of the 90-day process that includes testing and screening to produce two sizes of compost.

The facility produces mulch and fine compost, both of which are qualified as Class A compost making it "Exceptional Quality," Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said.

Despite the amount of Christmas trees coming into the facility after the holidays, the number is dwarfed in comparison to the amount of leaves collected at the facility once colder weather moves in, Ms. Brashear said.

"We get (the leaves) and the trees too," she said. "It's a busy season for the facility. The biosolids spend 30 days in the compost building and then 40 days curing so it's a minimum of 70 days. Then we don't distribute anything until it's tested. We are doing it the same way Mother Nature does, just speeding things up a little bit."

The compost is used in city parks and facilities, and also sold to garden centers, golf courses and landscapers.

The compost can be purchased wholesale for $6.50 per cubic yard of either the mulch or fine compost.

To qualify as a wholesale customer, at least 20 cubic yards of compost must be purchased in a year.

Some retailers sell the city's compost at garden centers around Goldsboro if someone wanted to purchase it but didn't need a wholesale amount, Ms. Brashear said.