December 19, 2023 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Encourages Residents to Participate in its Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program to Rebuild Wetlands

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans today reminded residents it will continue its Christmas tree recycling program this holiday season to help restore and protect the Louisiana coastline.

"Every year, our Christmas trees bring light and happiness into our homes, but their significance goes far beyond spreading holiday joy," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "Recycling and placing these trees along our eroding coastline to help rebuild our wetlands will assist in the effort to protect our great city and state for generations to come. This robust tree recycling program is another example of how New Orleans will continue to lead in combatting the global climate crisis while promoting innovative opportunities to create a better, greener and more vibrant community. Thank you to our residents who continue to donate their Christmas trees year after year to enhance our coastline restoration efforts."

Residents are asked to place their trees curbside before 5 a.m. on their regularly scheduled trash collection day from Jan. 8 through Jan. 13, 2024.

Residents in the French Quarter and Downtown Development District should place their trees curbside before 4 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11 only. Trees cannot be flocked or have remnants of tinsel, and all ornamentation should be removed before placing them on the curb. Missed collections should be reported to 311.

For over 25 years, the City’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program has contributed to the restoration of the Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge. The trees are put to good use protecting wetlands while also keeping them out of landfills. Thanks to residents who put their Christmas trees out for curbside pickup each year, recycled trees have restored an area of marsh equal to approximately 200 football fields. The trees also create an important habitat for birds, fish, crabs, crawfish and shrimp. The goal is to collect 10,000 trees this year.

The program is coordinated by the Office of Resilience and Sustainability (ORS) and Department of Sanitation, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Army National Guard (LANG).

“Our wetlands are our first line of protection from storm surge and hurricanes,” said ORS Environmental Affairs Administrator Cheryn Robles. “The Christmas tree recycling program is a great way for residents to get involved in the fight to restore our coast.”

“We appreciate the commitment of New Orleans residents and the support of our curbside collection contractors as we seek to grow this impactful program,” said Sanitation Director Matt Torri. “City leadership met with contractors to review feedback from last year’s collection to ensure that adequate equipment and resources are available to facilitate a smooth pick-up in 2024.”

The trees are sorted, bundled and airlifted by a helicopter to be dropped in targeted sections of the Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge. The annual Christmas Tree Drop represents a long-standing partnership between LANG and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project benefits the City of New Orleans and surrounding coastal environment while also providing valuable training hours for pilots and crewmembers of the 1st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment.

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