213 trees, 592 lbs. of lights

Ben Broomall, a groundsworker in the Devou Park/Forestry Division, turns Christmas trees into mulch near the Ohio River floodwall.

Holiday recycling programs save landfill space 

COVINGTON, Ky. – Efforts to recycle and repurpose holiday-related waste in Covington this season gathered in over a quarter-ton of burned-out light strings and a veritable forest of dried-out evergreens.
Or, if precise numbers are your thing: 213 Christmas trees and 592 pounds of copper wire, plastic, and bulbs.
Those are the final totals of separate programs designed to save landfill space and protect groundwater by turning trees into mulch and letting a professional recycling company strip usable material from the strands, rather than leave it to deteriorate underground.
“Each year we strive to both expand opportunities for our residents and make it easier for them,” said Sheila Fields, Covington’s Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator. “This was progress.”
Residents could drop “dead” strands of lights into bins or barrels in front of City Hall or at The Center for Great Neighborhoods, the home of the City’s partner, Keep Covington Beautiful.
“This was our first year participating in the event, and we were overwhelmed by the response,” said Stephanie Bacher, Covington’s Solid Waste and Recycling Supervisor. “With nearly 600 pounds collected, we think it was pretty successful.”
The City hopes to top that figure next year with an earlier start to the program and increased publicity.
“So we’re telling residents now: When you put up lights on the patio this summer, or decorate for holidays throughout the year, remember to save any broken lights for the collection program next year,” Bacher said.
Cohen Recycling processes the material.
Again this year, the City worked with Keep Covington Beautiful and Rumpke Waste & Recycling to give residents the option of either dropping their natural holiday trees off at three different collection sites or arranging with Rumpke to pick them up on trash collection days.
The Devou Park/Forestry Division in the City’s Public Works Department ground up the trees for mulch.
Fields said she was happy that the number of trees collected was 33 percent higher than last year’s number and credited Rumpke’s crews for driving around and collecting them.
“We want to thank the residents who participated, but we know we can do better,” she said. “We’re going to work on awareness in hopes of drastically increasing the number next year.”
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