Christmas Trees, Fallen Soldiers

by Accidental Bear

Raped from the ground, tied up with christmas lights and taunted by kids snooping curiosity. Poor little guys. Then dragged to the curb and left for an unknown fate ( dramatic).

Where Do All the Christmas Trees Go?

by J.J. Barrow

Christmas is over. How long will you keep the tree?

From January 3 through 14, kick your naked tree to the curb and Recology will pick it up on your regular recycling collection day. Once they’re on the truck, Christmas trees journey 63 miles to be reincarnated as pure energy.

First, they go to the dump. Recology processes the trees through a wood chipper, and the remains take a special ride on an 18-wheeler to a biomass facility in Tracy.

At the biomass plant, the Christmas trees rise like phoenixes – or at least steam does when their chips burn inside boilers. The steam powered turbines generate electricity that is sold to PG&E. Then, “it powers your laptop computer,” said Recology spokesperson Robert Reed.

Overall, San Francisco’s Christmas tree chips produce about 20 megawatts of power, or enough energy to service 20,000 houses for a month, according to Chris Trott at the Tracy Biomass Plant. The plant paid Recology for chips after the past two Christmases, but only enough to cover the cost of transporting them to Tracy.

The rest of the year, Tracy Biomass uses peach pits, walnut shells and tree trimmings to power the plant.

There’s a reason for Recology’s quick turn-around time – to reduce the amount of Christmas tree related fires. “The San Francisco fire department wants us to pick them up as quickly as possible,” said Reed.


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