Christmas treeLee County offers residents the opportunity to recycle their clean, live Christmas trees into useable mulch – mulch that is offered back to the community free of charge.

To participate, set your clean tree at the curb on your regular yard waste collection day. All lighting, decorations, tinsel and the stand must be removed. Once collected, the trees are processed into mulch or incorporated into compost.

Free mulch is available to Estero residents at the Bonita Springs Imperial River Boat Ramp, 27551 South Tamiami Trail.  This location is not attended; you will need to bring shovels and containers to load the mulch.

Artificial Christmas trees that are past their useful life should be placed in the garbage. If they are still useable, consider donating them to a local charity. They should never be placed in recycling.

Additional post-holiday tips:

Recycle all gift-wrapping paper except paper with a metallic finish. Shipping boxes, glass bottles and jars, metal cans and plastic bottles also are recyclable. Each item should be free of food residue before being placed in the recycling bin. Paper plates, used napkins and plastic silverware are not recyclable and should go in the trash can.

Consider filling some of your shipping boxes with household items suitable for donation and deliver those to a local charity. It’s an easy way to keep those items in use within the community rather than adding additional trash to the system.

If your holiday tradition involves deep-fried turkey, disposing of the leftover cooking oil does not have to be a challenge.  At no charge, residents may deliver liquid cooking oils to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 6441 Topaz Court. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of each month. Please transport used oils or grease in sealed, unbreakable, leak-proof containers. This service is available year-round.