Record Cold Temperatures Predicted – Bring Your Animals Inside!

December 31, 2010

Recycling Connections is a weekly recycling column geared to answer your recycling questions, side effects
bring you up-to-date as recycling blossoms in our community, and connect you to recycling happenings in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County. 

By Esmeralda Almanza and Suzanne Michaels

When Christmas is over, there’s one more gift you can give… to the environment. After you remove all the decorations, lights, tinsel and fake snow, your cut tree can be recycled as “green waste” and turned into mulch available free of charge to the public. “We have piles of compost made from Christmas trees and other yard trimmings that people can take to put in their gardens to nurture the soil,” says Klaus Kemmer, Solid Waste Administrator for Las Cruces Utilities.

When trees are dropped off for recycling, they are weighed, and placed in a machine that chips and grinds them into mulched material (or compost) that’s piled up and left in the sun to cook. “We have to keep the compost wet at all times. We check the heat and the moisture with temperature probes for 3 or 4 months until it’s done,” says Klaus Kemmer, Solid Waste Administrator for Las Cruces Utilities, “when the temperature drops, it’s not cooking anymore, that means it’s done.” (For more information about picking up free mulch, please call Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3678.)

Throughout its life, a tree converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. It sequesters – or holds on to – the carbon, but releases the oxygen back into the air. The tree has grown tall and lived to gracefully adorn your home during Christmas. Now that the needles are shedding and the wonderful scent and color are fading, please give your cut tree the happy ending it deserves, by recycling it.

Approximately 33 million real Christmas trees are sold in North America every year (EPA), and 93 percent of those trees are recycled. In Las Cruces and Doña Ana County cut trees and any kind of green waste can be recycled year long at the Foothills Landfill in Las Cruces (555 Sonoma Ranch Blvd.) or in the County at the South Central Solid Waste Authority’s County Collection Centers in: Hatch, Hill, Butterfield, Anthony, Mesquite, La Mesa, Garfield and La Union.

Guidelines for treecycling:

· No ornaments of any kind

· No lights or tinsel

· No spray painted trees (that paint that gives the snowy feel)

“We take Christmas trees in one piece but for other kinds of larger trees the branches should be no bigger than 5 inches in diameter and 5 feet long,” said Kemmer.

Fun fact about Christmas trees: In the 1800’s the first attempts at artificial trees were made in Germany. Swan and ostrich feathers were painted green to imitate pine needles, and hung on metal wires. Then in the 1930’s the Addis Brush Company (a toilet brush manufacturer) made the very first commercial Christmas tree. Their model was the prototype for modern artificial trees. Since then, artificial trees have evolved into all colors and sizes, and provide an option to fresh cut trees.


If you have recycling questions, please visit our website at TheScrappyPages.com or call the SCSWA at (575) 528-3800.  Recycling Connections is submitted by Suzanne Michaels, Education and Public Outreach, for the South Central Solid Waste Authority (SCSWA) named 2010 Solid Waste Authority of the Year by the New Mexico Recycling Coalition. The SCSWA is the city/county agency responsible for managing solid waste and recycling in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County.
Protect Domestic Animals During Cold Weather

ALBUQUERQUE, for sale
NM—Animal Protection of New Mexico would like to remind people that protecting domestic animals from freezing weather is the law.
New Mexico’s state cruelty law (NMSA 30-18-1) mandates that animals be provided with adequate shelter. Most local city and county animal ordinances contain provisions for shelter requirements to protect animals.
Companion animals, sales such as dogs and cats, rubella
should be allowed indoors as much as possible, especially during weather extremes like we’re experiencing now. When animals must be outside, here are a few tips to help ensure animals are protected and that laws are obeyed:
*  A weatherproof shelter should be large enough to accommodate the animal, yet small
 enough to retain body heat.
*  The shelter should be protected on all sides from the elements. It should have a door, 
and contain dry, insulating bedding such as straw.
*  Animal housing also should be raised off of the ground a few inches, be shingled to keep out moisture, and be positioned so the doorway is out of the wind.
All animals left outdoors, including horses and livestock, should be provided with extra food during cold weather to help maintain overall health and body weight. Livestock should have a windbreak—it could save their lives. Clean water should be available continuously, and checked frequently to ensure it is not frozen.
APNM encourages people to work with local animal control departments to stockpile a few extra doghouses for those in need. Offering a weatherproof shelter and some clean straw to animals that must stay outside can help to make them comfortable, and may even save their lives.
Something as simple as bringing animals indoors can prevent serious injury or death. Providing for companion animals is not only the right thing to do, it is the law.
In Albuquerque, animals left outside in freezing temperatures may be reported anonymously to the city’s 311 line. Callers should provide the exact address for the animal. In other areas, call local animal control, or the Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force hotline:
1-877-5-HUMANE.

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