Hazards of the holidays | NevadaAppeal.com

Hazards of the holidays

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Carson City firefighters lit a Christmas tree on fire as part of a training exercise in May 2000. Health officials are asking residents not to burn wrapping paper or cardboard boxes due to concerns over pollution.

Whether it’s the magical crackle of a glowing fireplace or just that extra slug of eggnog, there’s something about the holidays that brings out the pyromaniac in revelers, according to the Air Quality Management Division of the Washoe County District Health Department.

Actually, for many people, it’s a symptom that’s closest to just plain laziness, says the division’s public information officer, Susie Kapahee. “Sometimes it seems easier just to toss all that paper into the fireplace,” she says. “But some of those papers are absolutely toxic. The best thing to do is just to throw them away.”

“As tempting as it may be to quickly clean up the (wrapping) paper by putting it in the fireplace or wood stove, residents need to remember that burning colored and metallic papers can release toxic pollutants into the air,” agrees Andrew Goodrich, director of the division.

They also suggest residents stick with roasting chestnuts rather than tossing the old Yuletide tree into the fireplace.

Aside from being the ceremonial centerpiece of the holidays deserving of a little respect, a fresh Christmas tree is a notorious fire hazard that can explode from room temperature to red-hot Roman candle in seconds, singeing eyebrows and generally adding to pollution levels. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Christmas trees account for 400 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 80 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage.

In the spirit of prevention and preservation, Carson City is once again offering Christmas tree recycling in cooperation with Capitol Sanitation/Waste Management Inc. Last year, the city was able to redirect 43 tons of wood waste from landfills through the effort.

The trees can be put out with the regular trash from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31 or dropped off at select areas.

Recycled trees are turned into wood chips and find new life in area parks, are used for weed abatement projects and given to local gardeners free of charge.

Contact reporter Peter Thompson at pthompson@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.

recycle that tree

• Curbside pickup on your regular trash day from Monday-Dec. 31

• Drop-off sites from Monday-Jan. 3:

Carson City Sanitary Landfill

Carson City corporate yard (south side)

North Town Shopping Center/ Bully’s Sports Bar

J.C. Penney parking lot

• For information, call the Carson City Environmental Control Authority 887-2355, ext. 1019, 1048 or 1054.