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Merced city crews seeing fewer discarded Christmas trees

Merced refuse collection crews are seeing fewer discarded Christmas trees this year.

Dan Arnold, the city of Merced's solid waste manager, said Wednesday that crews have picked up 150 fewer discarded Christmas trees than they did last year.

Arnold said 150 fewer trees have been picked up per route.

City officials hope more people are following recommendations and cutting their Christmas trees into thirds and placing them in the green waste can.

The city doesn't keep track of the number of Christmas trees retrieved from residents.

Arnold said the trees usually show up at the curb for the first couple of weeks of the year but could show up as late as April.

Twenty discarded trees were retrieved Wednesday and 25 on Tuesday; last year about 100 trees were retrieved a day, according to Arnold.

City spokesman Mike Conway said people used to just drag trees out to the curb; now with recycling, the trees should be cut up and put in the green containers.

Residents are advised to take off ornaments and lights before discarding the tree. And never burn a discarded Christmas tree in the fireplace, Conway warned.

What with Christmas and New Year's observances falling on Sunday and the holiday extending into Monday, refuse crews may see more discarded trees next week, Conway said.

Arnold believes Mercedians may have purchased fewer trees this year, perhaps a result of the poor economy.

Sam Chandler, manager at Merced County's solid waste landfill site on Highway 59, said he has no count on the number of trees showing up at the dump.

Christmas trees are cut up and placed in green waste cans and may not be obvious when they are dumped at the landfill.

"We don't get overwhelmed with Christmas trees," Chandler said.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or