The City of Greencastle Department of Public Works is conducting its annual Christmas tree pickup, which began today and will continue through Jan. 18.
Residents within the city limits are advised to put their live Christmas trees only (no tree stands or decorations) between the curb and sidewalk. Those with no curb or sidewalk along their property are asked to put trees out near the street, but not in it.
The city pickup will follow the trash routes, so residents need to have trees out the day before because the crew will only go through each day's route once during the week (unless it gets ahead of schedule).
The schedule, of course, is all weather permitting. The collection effort may get behind due to inclement weather.
As a reminder, the department notes that it accepts no plastic bags or plastic trees.
Meanwhile, for those outside city limits, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources notes several ways to recycle Christmas trees, but tossing them onto a frozen lake to create fish habitat may not be the best idea ... and may require a permit from the DNR.
Better options include taking the tree to a designated recycling site, tossing it in the backyard to provide shelter for wintering birds or running it through a wood chipper to create mulch.
Discarding a Christmas tree on a private pond is done at the owner's discretion, but doing so on public freshwater lakes is governed by the Lake Preservation Act.
The law requires a license from the DNR to construct or place a fish attractor in a public lake. To qualify, the fish attractor must be anchored to ensure proper setting and must not be placed in a channel, a beach area or anywhere that would adversely affect public safety and navigation.
Three DNR divisions -- Fish and Wildlife, Law Enforcement and Water -- have a role in reviewing and approving a permit request. If approved, the fish attractor permit carries a $100 fee.