Mathew Widing prepares to toss his Christmas tree in the pile at the corner of Richter Street and Rowcliffe Avenue in downtown Kelowna on Friday.
"They all got iPods for Christmas, so they're in the van listening to music," said Widing with a laugh.
"I got the tree on top of the van by myself, so I'll get it down by myself too."
Widing was adding his tree to the pile that is quickly growing in the parking lot at the corner of Richter Street and Rowcliffe Avenue downtown.
"We had this tree up way early - likely around Dec. 3 - so it was dried out, and now is the time to get rid of it," said Widing.
He knew exactly where to take it.
"We dropped off our old trees here for years," he said. "It's easy, and it's nice to know that they will be chipped up and recycled."
The downtown Kelowna site is one of about a dozen in the Okanagan where you can dispose of your Christmas tree the eco-friendly way for free. (Scroll down for a list of drop-off locations up and down the Valley.)
In Kelowna and the Central Okanagan, the trees are chipped into compost used to make Glenmore Grow, a soil enhancer that can be used in landscaping, gardens, potting soil and as a lawn topper.
In other jurisdictions, chipped trees go into community composting programs for use in municipal parks and projects.
"It's good that they recycle them here," said Zach Doyle of Sorrento, who was visiting his sister in Kelowna when he and his truck were commissioned to drop off her tree.
"I work up in Prince George in logging, and up there they collect all the old Christmas trees and burn them and let firefighters practise on the blaze."
While tree discards were brisk on Friday, only three days after Christmas, drop-offs actually started on Boxing Day as people wanted to get rid of dried-out evergreens as soon as possible.
Probably the biggest day for drop-offs will be Jan. 2. The holidays are truly over then, and freeing yourself of the wilting conifer is all part of the post-Christmas cleanup.
Remember, all decorations and tinsel have to be off the tree prior to drop-off.
Only real trees can be chipped and composted.
Artificial trees you don't want can be recycled by dropping them off at a charity that will pass them on.
Following is a list of places to drop off your Christmas tree for recycling:
- Parking lot at the corner of Richter Street and Rowcliffe Avenue in Kelowna.
- Glenmore Landfill in Kelowna.
- Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre on Asquith Road in West Kelowna.
- Princeton Avenue compost site in Peachland.
- Swalwall park on Bottom Wood Lake Road in Lake Country.
- For a donation to the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' burn fund, people can drop off their Christmas trees from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 5 and 6 at the Kelowna fire halls at 2255 Enterprise Way and 619 DeHart Rd., or at the West Kelowna Home Depot for chipping.
- Fire Hall No. 2 at 285 Dawson Ave. in Penticton.
- Penticton firefighters will also pick up trees from homeowners who call 250-490-2315 and make a donation to the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters' burn fund and muscular dystrophy charities.
- In Summerland, request your Christmas tree be picked up by Summerland Secondary School students on either Sunday, Jan. 6, or Sunday, Jan. 13, by calling the fire hall at 250-494-7211, ext. 3. Donations will go to the school's dry grad.
- South gate of the Public Works Yard at 5971 Sawmill Rd. in Oliver.
- Kinsmen Park in Osoyoos.
- Parking lot below Sun Bowl Arena in Osoyoos.
- Curbside pickup by the Naramata Citizens Association is Jan. 15-19. Call 250-496-5222 to arrange.
- Any regular North Okanagan Regional District disposal site or recycling facility.
- Vacant lot beside St. John Ambulance at the corner of 47th Avenue and 20th Street in Vernon.
- Tree Farm at 4905 Parkinson Rd. in Armstrong.
- Public Works Yard at 2308 McGowan St. in Enderby.
- Curling rink parking lot in Lumby.