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Pitch that pine on the curb

In addition to the usual pickup of discarded Christmas trees, the city will begin to collect unwanted holiday lights.

December 28, 2010|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com

GLENDALE — This year, it's not just the tree that can be recycled. Residents can also give their old Christmas lights a second life.

Starting Monday and running through Jan. 14, Glendale trash collectors will pick up Christmas trees stripped of their decorations through the city's regular refuse service.

"It's very simple," said Public Works Director Steve Zurn. "You just put it out at the curb. We put it as part of our green waste program."

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The Christmas tree recycling program is an established citywide program that city officials say is the safest and easiest way to dispose of dried-out trees after the holidays.

Christmas trees account for 250 fires annually, resulting in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Assn.

"We don't want anybody burning their tree," Zurn said.

Last year roughly 400,000 trees, or 4,000 tons worth, were recycled countywide, according to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

Residents should remove all ornaments, decorations, nails, buckets, bags and stands before putting trees out for recycling. Trees should also be placed on the parkway by 7 a.m. on the area's scheduled trash day.

New this year, the Glendale Integrated Waste Division and Neighborhood Services Division have teamed up to collect broken or unwanted holiday lights — the majority of which now end up in local landfills because there is no easy way to recycle them.

"There are a lot of them being thrown away, so we are starting the program," Zurn said.

The lights will then be stripped and the copper within them reused, officials said.

The unused strings of lights can be dropped off through Jan. 14 at cardboard recycling boxes placed at city buildings and community centers, officials said.

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