Annual Bring One for the Chipper event held in LaGrange on Saturday

Published 6:10 pm Monday, January 7, 2019

Keep Troup Beautiful enjoyed a steady flow of participants at its annual Bring One for the Chipper event on Saturday but saw a surprising result — very few Christmas trees dropped off would actually make it to the chipper.

Even as residents dropped off old tires, outdated electronics and Christmas trees, local fishermen streamed into the LaGrange Recycling Center on Saturday to pick up trees to make fish habitats in their favorite fishing spots.

“Most of the trees are going to the local high school fishing teams,” said James Reed, a crew chief at the recycling center. “I’ve had two fishing teams come by and say, ‘Hey, can we get those trees?’ So, I got with Scott [Landa, the executive director of Keep Troup Beautiful], and he said sure. I guess instead of chipping these up, they’ll improve the lake.”

Landa said it has been common for residents to use old live Christmas trees to create fish habitats for several years. 

“The trend over the last few years has been very few Christmas trees with us being so close to West Point Lake,” Landa said. “It is a good use for them.”

One of Keep Troup Beautiful’s goals is to keep as many materials out of the landfill as possible, which meant that in addition to helping residents safely dispose of electronics, tires and trees, the event was also able to bring attention to the recycling center. 

Reed said Bring One for the Chipper encourages people to ask questions and pay attention to the recycling center. That attention can encourage people to make use of the recycling center, which may prove important considering projected population growth.

“Georgia, being number four in the nation for population growth, continually gets rankings as one of the best places in the country to do business,” said Ken Pope, a member of KTB’s board of directors. “The population is growing and inevitably will continue to grow. Therefore, waste management, litter prevention and recycling are and will be more important than ever.”

Landa said that he is seeing more awareness of litter due to the City of LaGrange’s anti-litter campaign, and he commended the city’s efforts. However, all the KTB representatives at the event agreed that there is still room for improvement, both in Troup County and the surrounding area.

“A comment from a Pine Mountain resident was, ‘We can’t recycle in our city and area,’ so they are willing to make the trip up here to recycle,” Landa said. “She was glad to have this place to take recycling to.”

Meanwhile, Reed said that employees at the recycling center hope to improve efficiency of recycling by educating regulars at the center.

“If we get some more fliers out and educate people a little bit better on recycling — as far as washing the bowls out, not throwing half a bottle of spaghetti sauce or peanut butter or food in with the stuff because it contaminates the rest of the plastic — [we can improve recycling],” Reed said. “That is where our waste is, and we want to try to eliminate that. We try to talk to just about everybody that comes in everyday and let them know that, and it is getting a lot better. Last year it was 8,000 pounds [a month], so we set our own personal goal to try to do 11,000 [pounds a month].”

The Georgia Forestry Commission donated hundreds of dogwoods and chestnut trees to give away at the event, and Creative Call Ins donated a gift basket that participants had a chance to win.

To learn more about Keep Troup Beautiful, visit or visit them on Facebook. Fliers on recycling are available at LaGrange City Hall.