Give your Christmas tree a new purpose

The annual Grinding of the Greens runs through December 26, 2010 - January 14, 2011.

RICHLAND COUNTY (WACH) -- Giving is a fundamental part of the holiday season, and that is why Walter Holmes is giving away his Christmas tree.

It TMs real easy. You just drop it off and leave, Holmes says.

The Grinding of the Greens is taking place now through January 14, 2011.

According to Heidi Johnson with Keep the Midlands Beautiful which organizes the annual event, some of the recycled trees will be ground up and turned into mulch instead of taking up space in landfills.

Every little thing that we can do definitely helps. No one wants a landfill in their backyard, Johnson adds.

The Department of Natural Resources also uses discarded Christmas trees to create wildlife habitats.

There are 12 drop-off sites in Lexington and Richland counties. A big pile of trees already awaits its fate at the Clemson Road location.

Last year, the trees were in the back corner of the lot and they would overflow all the way up to our fireworks stand, says Stephen Perry.

Perry TMs family runs a temporary fireworks business and shares the Northeast Columbia drop-off site.

For the last several years, Perry has helped stack trees to make room for more.

Everyday the pile gets bigger and bigger, Perry says.

Contributing to the effort in two different ways, the Grinding of the Greens has become a tradition for both Perry and Holmes.

Their parts may be small, but it adds up.

I dropped one off last year, Holmes recalls.

And that is just what environmentalists are hoping happens across the region.

For a list of drop-off sites and times, click here.