LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Looking to beat the high cost of Christmas trees this year? The answer might be in your used soda cans and bottles.

CBS2’s Craig Herrera reported from South LA with one recycle company’s great idea.

We all have bags of trash and recyclables, why not drop them off at a place like Active Recycling in South Los Angeles?

There’s no Grinch at this company.

“I love Christmas, and they’re giving away trees. Only reason to smile you know. It’s a good thing,” said Sam Coleman of Crenshaw.

You can drive in with trash and recyclables and drive out with a tree.

“Tallest one. It’s about stage presence. Make it look good. The taller the better,” said Coleman.

As for customer reactions?

“Shock. They can not believe it. They cannot believe there’s no string attached. It’s absolutely free,” said Errol Segal of the Active Recycling Co.

Free, at a perfect time.

“Prices have gone up. I think supply went low, right?” says Kevin Aguilar.

The price of Christmas trees has gone up — about 10 percent this year. It’s all due to fewer trees planted during the great recession and because of our recent drought.

“Were gonna have a good Christmas,” said Aguilar, laughing, “More money for the Christmas lights!”

Segal started a new holiday tradition four years ago after a customer shared a story with him.

“He said I could hardly afford the Christmas presents and that’s when I said, I gotta do something special”

He says people have brought in over 3 million pounds of waste since then. And one bonus.

“On the trash, you can bring in any amount.” Segal says.

The first 500 pounds of trash can be left here for free. It’s a way to help clean up Los Angeles while saving a little green.

Coleman isn’t going to keep his tree. He’s passing it on.

“I’m going to donate it to someone that would not be able to have a tree this year,” said Coleman.

The trees are Douglas firs, about 4-5 feet high. And there are only 400 and they will be given out first come, first serve until they are gone.

The company opens at 5:30 in the morning and closes at 7:30 at night seven days a week.


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