Hays County, city reuse recycled Christmas trees to revamp area parks

Recycled Christmas trees acquired by Hays County will be used as mulch for county parks such as Jacob’s Well in Wimberley and the Five Mile Dam in San Marcos.

Through a six-day recycling effort, which went from Jan. 8-13, Hays County citizens donated a total of 49 trees to locations in Wimberley and Driftwood.

The recycling effort was made possible by a joint operation headed by Recycling and Solid Waste Department and the Hays County Transportation Department. The Hays County Parks and Recreation Department will use the mulch for additional trails at county parks.

The Five Mile Dam in San Marcos will soon see renovations and additions of new trails coming in 2018, said Brooke Leftwich, Hays County natural resource manager.

Meanwhile in Kyle, city staffers are planning to take a slightly different approach when it comes to recycling trees.

The city of Kyle’s park and recreation department is turning Christmas trees into small chips, which will be used to lay trails and walkways in parks.

“The process of mulching takes about a year and we currently don’t have the time and space to mulch trees,” said Tim Cropley, facilities manager for Kyle parks and recreation. “It is something we want to do in the future, however, what we are currently doing helps with keeping mud and dirt out of out parks and walkways.”

The city placed Christmas tree drop-offs at strategic areas where residential populations are high, Cropley said.

Using chips for a walkway foundation is a natural, timely alternative for mulch. Chips are biodegradable and they help contain weeds in parking lots and surrounding areas.

The trails at Lake Kyle and other walkways around the city will be target areas for the project. 

Cropley said these projects keep the city moving forward in environmental conservation while limiting waste.

“We’re continuing to make new programs and grow current programs to help divert waste to the landfill,” Leftwich said. “In 2017 Hays County started a recycling program for electronics in the effort of keeping things out of the landfill, especially for after Christmas waste.”

Promoting artificial trees is good because it allows for reuse over a few years, Leftwich said.

However, new projects like this allow real trees to be used again and benefit other county facilities.

“We will be offering this program again next Christmas season and we hope to continue this growth,” Leftwich said.

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