A beach business is once again helping to recycle Christmas trees

Chicho’s has been collecting and recycling wood for several years. This year’s series will help beaches in Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Several years ago, a company with deep roots in Virginia Beach began sponsoring an effort to recycle and put Christmas trees to good use.

This year, Chicho’s Pizza stepped up again. On Saturday, they collected trees at their flagship restaurant on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront to use to restore the sand dunes.

As in years past, the effort will benefit beaches on the Outer Banks, but this year, some will also be used to build a series of dunes at Dam Neck in Virginia Beach.

Chicho’s owner, Matt Potter, said some people have been dropping off their trees for years to support their efforts.

“We plant trees in sand dunes and sandbanks, and the winds pick up and push the sand over the trees to create more natural dunes,” he said.

Those who dropped the tree received a coupon from Chicho’s good for a free cheese pizza.

If you haven’t gotten rid of your tree yet because you’re trying to figure out the best way to do it, here are some tips:

  • Landfill and Resource Recovery Center: Residents who take their trees to the Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center, located at 1989 Jake Sears Road, will be happy to know that their trees will be shredded and used for mulch by the city’s landscape crews. Trees must be without stands, lights, decorations and glitter.
  • Beaches: Residents should NEVER plant trees on nearby beaches. Beach Operations and City Landscape Services work to manage our beautiful sand dunes. The trees contain a lot of sap, and when they dry out, they pose a fire hazard. Trees can also end up in the water and pose a safety issue for marine life, boaters and swimmers.
  • Return to seller: Some of the local daycares have return programs. Check with the place where you bought the tree to see if they will take it back. If not, check with someone who does, so they might take yours.
  • Local delivery points: Local businesses have offered to accept trees. Be on the lookout for announcements by tree harvesting companies through social media or local stations.
  • Fake tree: If your fake tree is a little fragile and no longer useful to you, consider donating it. Hampton Roads is full of wonderful charities that would love to 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 Gate Annex, Building 127 off Regulus Ave.

You can leave up to four trees at a time in these places.

By donating your live cut Christmas tree, you help the local ecosystem by preventing erosion, providing habitat for beach critters and providing nutrients to plants.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

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