NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Doug Steinhardt that would restore a cherished post-Christmas tradition for New Jersey communities was approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“The open burning of Christmas trees was a cherished holiday tradition for many constituents before the events became over regulated and shut down,” said Steinhardt (R-23). “Annual Christmas tree bonfires were an economic driver for participating municipalities who often used these events to fundraise for local causes and organizations. This legislation would end the prohibition on municipal Christmas tree bonfires and allow communities to re-ignite this custom.”
The New Jersey Administrative Code currently prohibits the open burning of refuse materials like Christmas trees.
In years prior, certain municipalities would host an annual event for the open burning of Christmas trees to bring residents together and fundraise money for the community.
After the DEP issued a ban on burning the trees at municipal open burn events, residents became outraged as their local tradition came to an end. Municipalities now use wooden pallets as an alternative to Christmas trees.
Senator Steinhardt’s bill, S-861, would allow municipalities to restore this tradition by permitting an annual event for the open burning of the trees. Municipalities, however, would be required to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the DEP to ensure safe and controlled burns.
“Annual open burn events are a cost-effective method for municipalities to dispose of discarded Christmas trees,” Steinhardt added. “These events would occur under the watchful eye of local fire departments and provide greater environmental benefits than dumping the trees into landfills. By reducing regulatory burdens, communities can once again partake in their annual Christmas tree burning traditions.”