Recycle your Christmas Tree

Now that Christmas is over, don’t just drag your tree to the curb and expect it to disappear. The most efficient way to recycle your Christmas tree is to cut it into four foot lengths and place the pieces inside your yard waste cart for curbside collection.

Trees outside of curbside carts are officially allowed only in Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Moorpark unincorporated communities (areas outside cities), and in rare areas without yard waste collection carts in other cities, subject to various deadlines and restrictions.

Some yard waste collection truck drivers will load trees into their trucks even if you miss a deadline or do not live in an area with that program. Whether doing their job or doing a favor to residents not following program rules, however, exiting the cab into traffic is dangerous for drivers. Trash truck drivers have the fifth most dangerous job in America, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, with a higher fatality rate per thousand employees than the rate for police officers or firefighters.

Also, avoiding stops for trash trucks cuts emissions and reduces fuel costs. This can benefit you in the long run, since costs of collection are usually eventually reflected in fees for refuse service.

See the web site on your refuse bill to learn the dates and restrictions for recycling your tree. All programs require removal of tinsel, rods and stands.

If you miss your collection days or do not have curbside yard waste service, you can use one of the following drop-offs Dec. 26 to Jan. 20: Agromin Organics, 6859 Arnold Road, near Oxnard; Agromin at the Simi Valley Landfill, 2801 Madera Road, near Simi Valley; Agromin’s corporate office, at 201 Kinetic Drive, in Oxnard; Peach Hill Soils’ retail site at Performance Nursery, at 6101 E. Los Angeles Avenue, in Somis; and Peach Hill Soils compost site, at 10765 W. Los Angeles Avenue, near Moorpark.

Moorpark residents also have drop-off sites on Marquette Street and Park Crest Lane, and Oxnard residents may use the Del Norte Regional Recycling & Transfer Station from Dec. 27 to Jan. 28.

Keep your “eye on the environment” by recycling your Christmas tree.

Incentives help residents lead solar efforts

Solar photovoltaic panels generate more electricity in cold weather than they do in heat, but fewer are installed during the winter than the summer. So now is a great time to help your home town catch up to the impressive pace set by the 93065 zip code in Simi Valley, which has the most solar panels in Ventura County and more solar than the entire state of Wyoming, according to analyst Erin Vaughan, using data from Modernize, a nonprofit promoting solar energy.

Using Modernize’s ModSun Solar Calculator, you can determine incentives in your area and estimate your installation costs. According to Vaughan, Ventura County’s solar capacity totals around 65 megawatts, enough to offset the emissions of 70 million pounds of coal. By comparison, America’s largest power plant, in Juliette, Georgia, burns around 11 million pounds of coal per year.

Keep your eye on the environment with treecycling and solar energy generation this winter.

On the net:

David Goldstein works for the Ventura County Public Works Agency, the integrated waste management division.