EL PASO, Texas -- For El Paso County's parks and recreation department, the presents aren't under the trees. They are the trees.
The county is replanting live potted trees in parks, and turning cut trees into mulch.
"Why are you going to have these trees just rotting away in a landfill when they can be utilized," parks and recreation department worker Desiree Gonzalez said. "You spent the money on them, help them get a second life."
Gonzalez said the county received 36 trees this year, which may not seem like a lot until you consider that it received only 12 last year.
"We’re turning them into mulch. That mulch will allow us to be able to use them at county facilities, but it also helps us with our landscaping. They hold moisture which — once you’re watering — the mulch can hold a lot more moisture which can save you on water," Gonzalez said.
Wood chips from the recycled trees are also used in county play grounds, to give kids a soft and safe place to land when they go down slides.
"Live trees are great to have for the holidays, but give back to the environment by doing recycling," Gonzalez said.
The county is no longer accepting trees, but will continue the program next winter.