CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) will not be conducting its annual Christmas tree recycling events in January 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by the WVDEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP), in conjunction with the state Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), the tree recycling event has been a mainstay at Charleston’s Capitol Market for many years and offers residents an environmentally friendly way to dispose of their live Christmas trees. Last year, a second collection site was added in Bridgeport. Because of safety concerns amid the pandemic, neither location will operate next month.
Typically, hundreds of Christmas trees are collected and repurposed as fish habitat in lakes around West Virginia. WVDNR officials placed trees in Cheat, Tygart, Stonewall Jackson, Stonecoal, Burnsville, Sutton, Summersville, Big Ditch, Sherwood, R.D. Bailey, Beech Fork and East Lynn lakes last season. The Apple Grove Hatchery in Mason County also received trees.
REAP is hopeful the tree recycling event will return for the 2021 holidays. In the meantime, green alternatives such as composting and mulching, rather than landfilling, are recommended for those searching for a sustainable use of their Christmas tree once the holidays have ended.
REAP, whose new motto is ‘Keeping WV Clean and Green,’ was created in 2005 and strives to clean up West Virginia and rid the state of litter. The program empowers citizens to take ownership of their communities by providing technical, financial, and resource assistance in cleanup and recycling efforts. More information is available on the REAP webpage: https://dep.wv.gov/environmental-advocate/reap/Pages/default.aspx.