PORTLAND, Maine – The big day is over. The once bulging stockings, hung with care, are again thin and empty. The mounds of shredded wrapping paper are gone.
You’re probably saying goodbye to the evergreen tree that has taken pride of place in your living room for the past month, bringing joy and light on the longest nights of the year. It used to be a good Christmas tree, but now it’s losing dry needles at an alarming rate.
Your holiday wood can bring even more joy to the world when it is shredded, shredded, crushed, mulched or composted at any of the 40 sites listed on the new Ecomaine site. interactive online map sustainable tree disposal sites. The list includes locations in nearly 70 municipalities served by the member-owned waste recycling and energy recovery operation, from Belfast to New Hampshire.
“We wanted to find a way to keep more garbage out of landfills in Maine,” said Katrina Bussiere-Venhuizen, Ecomaine’s senior environmental educator who invented the tool. “Often, trees are thrown away or burned, when they could be reused as wood chips or compost. We hope this tool will be a win-win for residents and sustainability in Maine.”
Ecomaine – originally known as Regional Waste Systems – was founded in 1976 by the municipalities of Cape Elizabeth, Portland, Scarborough and South Portland in response to a new Maine law calling for the closure of private landfills. In 1985, the regional organization consisted of 20 municipalities.
The waste-to-energy plant was built in 1988 and recycling was added in 1990. Today, Ecomaine recycles or incinerates 90 percent of the waste it receives, using its landfill as a last resort.
Member cities with 2021 Christmas tree recycling locations include Portland, Belfast, Rockland, Waterville and Fryeburg.
“While this list is not exhaustive for the entire state, it is a good start to promoting readily available sustainable purposes for a fairly common waste this time of year,” said Matt Grondin, responsible for Ecomaine communications. “We welcome the additions to the database, in order to continue to increase similar solutions for this year and the years to come. “
As for all that wrapping paper, some can be recycled, according to Ecomaine. If it’s coated with wax or foil, it can’t. But the majority of coatings are now plastic and can be recycled right into your regular recycling bin.
The map and list of sustainable disposal of holiday trees are available at ecoaine.org.
Although Bangor is not on the Ecomaine map, residents can recycle their Christmas trees by dropping them off at the Bangor Public Works facility at 530 Maine Ave. during daylight hours. Residents can also place their trees at the curb. Pickup begins Monday and will continue until January 14.