VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Several years ago, a business with deep roots in Virginia Beach began sponsoring an effort to recycle Christmas trees and put them to good use.
This year, Chicho's Pizza once again stepped up. On Saturday, they collected trees at their flagship restaurant at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to be used for sand dune replenishment.
As in past years, the effort will benefit beaches on the Outer Banks, but this year, some will also be used to build the dune line at Dam Neck in Virginia Beach.
Chicho's owner Matt Potter said some people have been dropping off their trees to support their effort for many years.
"We plant the trees in the sand dunes and sand fences and the winds come up and push sand over the trees to create more natural dunes," he said.
Those who dropped off a tree received a coupon from Chicho's good for a free cheese pizza.
If you haven't yet disposed of your tree because you're trying to figure out the best way to do so, here are some tips:
- Landfill and Resource Recovery Center: Residents who take their trees to Virginia Beach's Landfill and Resource Recovery Center, located at 1989 Jake Sears Road, will be happy to know that their trees will be chipped and used for mulch by City landscape crews. Trees must be free of their stand, lights, ornaments and tinsel.
- Beaches: Residents should NEVER place trees on area beaches. Beach Operations and the City’s Landscape Services work to manage our beautiful sand dunes. Trees contain a lot of sap, and once dry are a fire hazard. Trees can also end up in the water and pose a safety concern for marine life, boaters and swimmers.
- Return to Seller: Some of the local nurseries have take-back programs. Check with the location where you purchased your tree to see if they take them back. If not, check with one that does, and they might take yours as well.
- Local Drop-Offs: Local businesses have offered to accept trees. Be on the look-out for announcements via social media or local news stations for businesses that are collecting trees.
- Faux Tree: If your fake tree is a bit scraggly and you no longer have a use for it, consider donating. Hampton Roads is full of wonderful charitable organizations that would gladly accept your donated tree.
Naval Air Station Oceana is also collecting trees through Jan. 31 at the following locations:
- NAS Oceana, Building 78, Natural Resources Center, 800 Oceana Blvd.
- NAS Oceana, Dam Neck Annex, Building 127 off of Regulus Ave.
You can drop off up to four trees at a time at these locations.
Donating your live-cut Christmas tree helps the local ecosystem by preventing erosion, providing habitats for beach creatures and giving nutrients to plants.
It's a win-win for everyone involved!