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Carols have been sung, presents have been given, and for those who celebrate Christmas, the holiday season has come to a close.

While it’s fun to keep a real Christmas tree during the month of December, as January rolls around many Beatrice locals will be looking for an environmental way to dispose of their pieces of the tradition.

This is why the city of Beatrice provides a free tree drop off service on the corner of First and Ella streets allowing people to properly dispose of their Christmas trees. The city will be collecting the trees until Jan. 20.

City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said the collection has become a tradition in its own right.

“We’ve offered the service for a countless number of years—far longer than I’ve been around,” he said.

Tempelmeyer said the response from the public is always positive and appreciative.

The city accepts all real Christmas trees, but will not dispose of artificial trees.

Tempelmeyer said the city runs this program as a service to the people of Beatrice and to cut down on illegal disposal of the trees.

“Christmas trees are a tradition, but people need ways to dispose of them,” he said.

He added locals occasionally dispose of trees improperly, leaving them in rural ditches or elsewhere. This is harmful to the environment and makes the Beatrice area’s appearance less savory.

The city takes the trees and feeds them into a wood chipper where they are mulched and used for several purposes, including landscaping projects in Beatrice parks. Some of the chips are taken to the landfill and used as cover.

Tempelmeyer said the city does incur some cost on the project, as they must pay for labor, equipment and gas for the wood chipper. However, he said, the actual cost is negligible as city employees handle the work.

People are expected to police themselves and be polite about using the service, Tempelmeyer said. He said there have been few problems in the past surrounding the tree pickup, and the city is proud to help Beatrice locals.

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