New Orleans encourages French Quarter residents to donate used Christmas trees for coastal restoration Jan. 7

(Photo: skooksie | CC)
New Orleans officials are continuing a recycling program in which residents, including in the French Quarter, are encouraged to donate their Christmas trees after the holiday in an effort to restore Louisiana’s coastline.

French Quarter property owners whose garbage is collected by Empire Services are encouraged to leave their used Christmas trees on the curb at the location of their trash bins before 4 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7.

Only natural, unflocked trees — not artificial trees — that are free of stands and all trimmings, including decorations, ornaments, tinsel and lights will be collected for recycling.

Artificial trees will be thrown into the landfill.

Owners of properties serviced by Richard’s Disposal and Metro Service Group are encouraged to recycle their Christmas trees by placing them at the location of their regular garbage collection before 5 a.m. on their regularly scheduled second collection day between Jan 7 to Jan. 9.

[Addendum: Dec. 22, 2020, 12:29 p.m. CST]In addition, daily curbside trash collection services at properties serviced by the city within the French Quarter and the Downtown Development District will not be affected during Christmas and the New Year’s holiday, according to officials.

The trees will be collected, sorted and bundled by city workers, contractors, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana National Guard and transported to selected wetlands zones at risk for subsidence or lost to erosion.

After the trees are dropped by helicopter, workers come by boat to move them to their final position., according to LaTonya Norton, a spokeswoman with Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office.

Norton added that over the course of this program, recycled Christmas trees have restored an area of marsh equal to almost 200 football fields and create important habitat for birds, fish, crabs, crawfish, and shrimp.

Louisiana is losing wetlands, which are crucial to the state’s $1 billion seafood economy, at a rate of about 75 square kilometers each year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Residents seeking more information on the program are asked to call NOLA 3-1-1.