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Recycle bins open in Billings area to take old Christmas trees to a good cause

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 19:59:10-05

BILLINGS — Yellowstone County and Billings residents looking to keep their used live Christmas tree out of the landfill and recycle it for a good cause are in luck, staff with Bright n' Beautiful of Yellowstone County have set up 10 recycle collection bins that will stay out until Jan. 21.

"Instead of just sending them out with all of the plastics and paper that ends up in the landfill. Here's a perfectly good tree that can be chipped down and be used to help the animals and birds in Yellowstone County. I think it's a no brainer," said Joanie Tooley, executive director for Bright n' Beautiful of Yellowstone County on Tuesday.

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Bright n' Beautiful of Yellowstone County Executive Director Joanie Tooley stands in front of the new collection site in the Heights at Clevenger Park.

At the end of the collection period, thousands of recycled trees will be hauled to Rocky Mountain Compost where staff there will shred the trees into mulch to give out for free to other local conservation organizations and citizens who ask, Tooley said.

Tree Recycle Sites In Billings

  • Schnitzer Recycling - 1100 6th Ave. N
  • Hanser's Automotive - 430 South Billings Blvd.
  • ZooMontana - 2100 South Shiloh Rd.
  • Rocky Mountain Compost - 3060 Farley Ln.
  • Billings Landfill - 5240 Jellison Rd.
  • Heights Clevenger Park - Bench Blvd. & Radford Square

Tree Recycle Sites In Yellowstone County

  • Laurel: Thompson Park - Parking Lot
  • Lockwood: Lockwood Middle School 1932 US Hwy 87 E
  • Shepherd: Shepherd High School - 7842 Shepherd Rd.
  • Huntley: Methodist Church - Parking lot
Look for this sign on the side of the recycle bin to drop off your used live Christmas trees.

An organization that will benefit from the free mulch is Montana Audubon Center near Norm's Island in Billings. The Center Director, Gabi Morey said the mulch will be spread over walking paths and around kids play areas.

"It's wonderful and we have a decent amount of space that we use mulch in every year, so it's wonderful to get free mulch every year to cover the spaces where we need it," Morey said.

Another recipient of the free mulch is ZooMontana. The zoo's parking lot serves as a drop off location and is usually a popular one, said Jeff Ewelt, ZooMontana executive director.

In addition to mulching walking paths, some full trees are also used to provide fun for the animals.

"We actually come out and get quite a few of the full trees and put them in habitats. They are great enrichments for the animals. They like to play in them, hide in them. We actually build a cave out of them for our tigers every year and they always love that. Which is always fun. But once we're done with them and they're done out here, they're actually mulched and used as wood chips throughout our zoo primarily for our landscaping and for our trails," Ewelt said.

To learn more about Bright n' Beautiful, visit its website by clicking here.

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