The city hall Christmas tree is a tradition. And for 23 years, the transformation of the official city tree into mulch has been a tradition, as well.
"It's kind of neat to be in the audience to know you've been a part of it from the very beginning to the very end," Victor Cordova with the city parks department said.
In a few moments, the tree was reduced to wood chips that will be converted by Living Earth Technology, which partners with the city's tree waste recycling program.
"And also the compostable bag program, where leaves and grass are brought to Living Earth and we turn that into compost," Richard Stamper with Living Earth said.
The city has 17 recycling centers at which Christmas trees can be dropped, including Memorial Park. And there are plenty of people ready to get the tree out of the house.
For some, it was their first time.
"My father talked us into coming over here," Scott Boyd said. "Apparently, his neighbor recycled this year, so we recycled; I recycled."
Some drop-offs are open daily. There's the environmental benefit to consider, but there's also the benefit of convenience.
"It's a lot easier than putting it out on the curb and letting the city fool with it," David Rule said. "It's a lot easier to deal with this way, I think."
And so the piles are growing. The same trees that saw smiles on Christmas morning are now stripped of tinsel and ornaments and preparing to give a gift back, eventually to a new generation of trees and plants.
For a complete list of Christmas tree recycling drop-off locations, go to www.houstontx.gov.
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