• Christmas Trees Lead Productive Lives After The Holidays - Friday, December 12, 2008 at
  • Big Wave Dave's Christmas Trees and green materials recycler Agromin are teaming up to spread the word, that with the help of Ventura and Santa Barbara County residents, Christmas trees will have a productive life long after the holidays.

    Approximately 70,000 to 100,000 cut Christmas trees are purchased from tree lots in the counties each year. After Christmas, the trees are collected from residences and recycled into soil products for use locally by agricultural operations, landscapers and consumers," says Bill Camarillo, CFO of Agromin, the green materials recycler for 19 Ventura and Santa Barbara cities. "In as little as 60 days, trees go from being the center of holiday festivities to mulch used on farmland and in gardens and landscapes."

    To help with the after-Christmas recycling effort, Camarillo says residents should be sure trees are free of ornaments, tinsel, nails and tree stands before placing them in green recycling bins. "Because of these efforts, your Christmas tree may be part of the mulch you use in your garden next spring or it may have helped grow lemons, avocados or strawberries on local farms," says Camarillo.

    Dave Lidren, owner of Big Wave Dave's Christmas Trees with lots in Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura, Moorpark and Santa Barbara, says the cut Christmas tree industry is part of the sustainable movement. "We receive our trees from Pacific Northwest farms so the natural forests are untouched," says Lidren. "For every tree harvested, growers plant one or more replacement trees."

    Lidren sees considerable green benefits of live Christmas trees when comparing them to artificial trees. "Live trees are all natural and are 100 percent biodegradable. Artificial trees are made of non-biodegradable plastics and metals," says Lidren. "While growing, live trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air; artificial trees are made of petroleum-based products that pollute the air. Live trees are recycled; artificial trees wind up in landfills and could take decades to decompose. Plus, live trees are a renewable resource while the petroleum used to make the plastic in artificial trees is a non-renewable resource."

    Lidren says any unsold trees from his lots are recycled. "Nothing goes to waste," says Lidren. An Agromin green recycling display will be at every lot, reminding shoppers that Christmas is just one stop in the trees' lifecycle.

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  • St. Rose of Lima School and Church Get Landscaping Facelift - Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at

  • St. Rose of Lima School and Catholic Church in Simi Valley is enjoying a newly landscaped parking lot and play area courtesy of volunteers and more than 10 tons of donated mulch from Agromin.

    The church and school on Royal Avenue needed a parking lot makeover to repair cracks and potholes and to expand and improve the safety of the play area of its school facility. Once the hardscape was refurbished and planters were placed between the parking lot and playground, the church parishioners turned their sights on "greening" the area. "Families donated funds to pay for trees, flowers and groundcover," says Rick Casanova, who along with Pat Shaffer, volunteered to oversee the project. The items were purchased at a discount from Enchanted Way Nursery.

    Almost 500 plant products, including sycamore, amber and ginko trees, day lilies, lantana, viburnum and ground cover, were selected. "The vegetation will be easy to maintain and is drought tolerant," says Casanova.

    More than 125 volunteers dug trenches, ran irrigation lines and planted trees and plants over two days in September and October. The Knights of Columbus hosted a free barbeque lunch for the volunteers.

    "We put a high priority on the safety of our children," says the church pastor Father Joseph Shea, when explaining why the project was needed. "We also try to bring beauty into people's lives. We're now protecting our children from parking lot traffic with beautiful landscaping. Parish members all worked together to complete the project. It had been 20 year since we last upgraded the parking area and we're delighted with the results."

    "It's nice to see greenery we never had before," says Casanova. "We brought the site up to date. We are very grateful that Agromin donated the soil for the project."

    Each week, Agromin receives leaves, grass clippings, wood and other green materials from the recycling containers collected at curbside throughout the county. From there, the materials are composted and used to create soil products. These products are then returned to the community in the form of mulch, bark and soil amendments.

    "The green materials we received from Simi Valley residents could very well be in the 10 tons of mulch used at St. Rose," says Bill Camarillo, CFO of Agromin. "These kinds of landscaping projects are a great example of how the community can 'close the green recycling loop.' We're happy to help." One of Agromin's green materials recycling facilities is at the Simi Valley Landfill.

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