(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Now heading into the new year, you may be ready to start taking down your holiday decorations.

When it comes to your Christmas tree, you can help save the environment by recycling it instead of throwing it away.

You can recycle your tree through the TreeCycle program, which takes old natural Christmas trees and turns them into mulch.

“It’s a program of El Paso County and supported by the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities,” Executive Director Colorado Springs Youth Sports, Steve Czarnecki, said. “And then also El Pomar Youth Sports Park helps market and promote the program and is a beneficiary of the charitable donations along with six other youth service nonprofits in the region.”

Czarnecki said the program has been going on for more than 20 years and helps support community youth programs with a $5 suggested donation.

Donation box at UC Health Park TreeCycle location.

“There’s a $5 suggested minimum donation with dropping off your tree,” Czarnecki said. “Of course, we welcome more. But every little bit helps and it goes to support the youth programs throughout the region.”

When it comes to dropping off your Christmas tree, be sure to remove all decorations from the holiday season.

“The tree should be totally bare,” Czarnecki said. “So no lights, no garland, no spikes through the trunk, any of that sort of thing. So just the tree…it needs to be ready to go straight into the chipper.”

TreeCycle locations will open the first two weekends in January from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We’d love to have you out,” Czarnecki said. “It’s great to see the faces and say goodbye to the trees and move into the new year together. And we have six convenient locations throughout the county, so find one near you and come visit us.”

Recycling your tree can not only help the environment but also help support youth in Colorado Springs.

“It means a lot to the nonprofit and helps raise needed funds, and it also helps keep trees out of landfill,” Czarnecki said. “We typically collect more than 5000 trees per year. So as you can imagine that that does a lot to keep that space from the landfill unfilled.”