ROCKINGHAM — The first conifer casualty of Christmas was laid to rest on Wednesday at the Richmond County landfill — its tinsel still blowing in wind — with more sure to follow in the coming week as the holidays come to a close.
Most county employees got Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off for Christmas this year, but the holiday for solid waste workers ended Tuesday to get ready for what Public Works Director Jerry Austin called the “busiest week of the year.”
“Solid waste doesn’t have the luxury of being off like other county employees do,” Austin said.
He added that the department tends to see more people recycling at this time of year due to the heavy influx of excess cardboard and wrapping paper. Only wrapping paper without the foil backing can be recycled, according to the county’s website.
Rockingham Public Works Director Richard Haugen said the only thing that changes about the trash collectors’ routes are that it starts to take longer to finish them. The city picked up street trash Wednesday and will pick up regular garbage Thursday and Friday, Haugen said.
Hamlet trash collectors had Wednesday off because they worked on Tuesday to make up for Christmas being on Monday this year, according to Hamlet Public Works Director Billy Stubbs. The trash load was “pretty bad” on Tuesday, Stubbs said.
The discarded Christmas trees don’t start piling high until New Years Day. In addition to the one tree that was thrown away on Wednesday, there were two fake trees added to the pile at the landfill.
One of those fake trees belonged to Hamlet residents Nicholas Whittington, 28, and his grandfather, Bob Linton, 85. Whittington said they put up their tree on Thanksgiving Day.
“We decided we were tired out with it,” he said, noting that their family came into possession of four trees this year, and donated two of them to needy families they found on Facebook. “Maybe another family and kids could enjoy it.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.