The gifts have been opened, the parties hosted and the New Year toasted. Now it’s time to take down the trees, pack up the decorations and get about the business of making 2013 a prosperous and happy year.

Being a good steward of resources is not a bad way to start. It’s easy, practical and useful — and in these parts, it’s just as much a part of the holiday season as Christmas lights and eggnog. Every year the City of Fayetteville, PWC, Progress Energy and Cape Fear Botanical Garden partner in recycling live Christmas trees. It’s called the Grinding of the Greens, and this year it takes place on Jan. 12 at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. The best part is that you don’t have to be present to make this program a success or to participate — although volunteers are always welcome.

Instead of sending trees to the landfill, donate them to the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. Each year, thousands of trees are ground into mulch and spread throughout the garden. It not only saves space in the landfi ll, it benefits the plants at CFBG and all the people who visit it each year. Trees are accepted at the garden up until the day of the event. 01-02-13-pwc-grinding.gif

Once the trees are ground up, the mulch is spread throughout the garden along the paths and in the flowerbeds. It takes dozens of volunteers to make the Grinding of the Greens happen, but thousands benefit all year long. For weeks afterwards, the grounds at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden smell of evergreens. It is a treat for employees, volunteers and garden visitors alike.

Starting Monday Jan. 7, Fayetteville residents can put trees by the curb for collection. From Jan. 7-11, the City of Fayetteville will make special pick-ups to get the trees. These pick-ups are for trees only, not yard waste, trash or recycle items. Please make sure all decorations and lights have been removed. You don’t have to live within the city limits to make a difference. If you miss a pick-up or live outside the city limits, the garden accepts drop-offs — just make sure to get it there before Jan. 12. To drop-off trees, bring them to the garden entrance. The garden is accessible even though the Cape Fear River Bridge project is underway.

Mayor Tony Chavonne will be on hand to start the event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. To volunteer at the Grinding of the Greens, call Cape Fear Botanical Garden at 486.0221.

Photo: The grounds of the Cape Fear Botanical Garden get their lush look in part from the rejuvenation from the Grinding of the Greens.

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