First and foremost, the tree must be real.
"We do occasionally have people who believe they can recycle their artificial trees," Gwen Baldwin, director of Keep Cobb Beautiful, said with a laugh. "It's usually entertaining as to what gets dropped off."
Please also remove your ornaments and the lights. Yes, all of them.
"We always inevitably find an ornament," Baldwin said. "We have a contest at the sites to see who finds the most ornaments."
And if you have a real tree that was "flocked," or covered in artificial snow, keep it out of the chipper.
But all of those real, naked, leftover trees can be recycled into mulch. Collection areas have been set up at six parks across Cobb County. They are Lions Park, Harrison Park, Noonday Creek Park, Fullers Park, Sewell Park and Lost Mountain Park. Trees may be dropped off in the designated areas through Jan. 9.
Davey Trees and Cobb EMC are partners in the "Bring One for the Chipper" campaign, and have begun chipping trees left at some sites. The mulch created there is free for the taking, so Baldwin suggests bringing a shovel, a large truck and helping yourself.
On Jan. 9, several local Home Depot sites will also be hosting chipper events. For locations, call (770) 528-1135 or visit http://kcb.cobbcountyga. gov/chipper.htm.
In 2009, nearly 22,000 Christmas trees in Cobb were chipped.
"It's great people understand the importance of not landfilling their trees," Baldwin said. "One tree in a landfill takes up as much space as a washing machine."