"Treecycling" partnership offers new lease on life for old Christmas trees

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For more than 30 years, PNM has partnered with the City of Albuquerque and the City of Rio Rancho to give old Christmas trees a second chance.

"We have multiple locations where you can drop off your Christmas tree, so it doesn’t end up on the side of the road or a dumpster, and we’ll mulch it up," PNM Senior Forester Thaddeus Petzold said.

Petzold added that anyone can take as much free mulch as they need.

"It makes Christmas last a little longer,” he said. “You put this in your yard and it smells like Christmas trees."

Officials ask that trees be cut and bare before they are dropped off.

"Just make sure you take off all the ornaments, take off the lights, take off any nails or anything like that because these things are going through chippers and they can be dangerous when they have stuff like that," Petzold said.

There is also a five-tree limit per person. Anyone who would like to drop off more will have to pay a fee.

Petzold said he’s noticed fewer live trees have been dropped off in recent years.

"A lot of people have gone more toward artificial the last few years, so we don’t have as many, we used to get a little bit more,” said.

In 2019, officials still managed to collect between five and 6,000. Petzold says any amount makes a big difference.

"That’s a lot of trees that we’re taking out of the landfills," he said.

In addition to trees, the Eagle Rock location is also taking donations for the Animal Welfare Department. It’s only one location.

"If anybody wants to drop off anything, dog toys, blankets, stuff like that, non-perishable food items," Petzold said.

Albuquerque Tree Recycling Locations (Dec. 27 – Jan. 9):

• Montessa Park Convenience Center – 3512 Los Picaros SE

• Eagle Rock Convenience Center – 6301 Eagle Rock NE

• Ladera Golf Course – 3401 Ladera Dr. NW

Rio Rancho Tree Recycling Locations (Dec. 26 – Jan. 9):

• Rio Rancho Sports Complex – 3501 High Resort Blvd.

• Sandoval County Landfill – 2708 Iris Rd.