5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Here are 5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

A fresh cut Christmas tree is a great way to celebrate the holidays, but once January rolls around you’ll need to dispose of your tree, and like everything else there are eco options available. Whenever possible it is best to avoid throwing things in landfills, because even if the item is biodegradable like trees are, they will not break down as quickly in a landfill. When recycling your tree make sure to remove all lights and decorations first and if you’re not sure where or how to recycle your tree we’ve rounded up some starting points for you to check out.

  1. Research Whether Your Local Municipality Offers Tree Recycling. Sometimes local cities or towns will offer curbside pickup or set up a collection site for trees after the holidays. Typically, collected trees are used to make mulch which in turn is used in local parks and public areas or offered up for grabs on a first-come first-serve base. This is a nice and convenient way to get rid of your tree and ensure the material is put to good (and green) use. To learn if such a service is available in your area check out your city, town or county’s website or call the main office. You can also visit Earth 911’s site to find a recycling location near you. You’ll want to confirm the dates and location, and double-check if there are any size limitations, for instance, some municipalities will only pick up trees that are less than 6 feet; so if you have a larger tree you may need to cut it into pieces.
  2. Create a Habitat. Cut trees can be put to good use as a home for birds or fish. A tree creates additional nesting space for birds when placed outside or if placed in a pond, lake or river the tree will create places for fish to hide. If you have the space for such uses that’s great, if not contact your local department of conservation and see if they are accepting donated trees.
  3. Prevent Shoreline Erosion. In coastal areas expired Christmas trees can be used to prevent water from washing away sand, eroding shorelines and destroying the ecosystem. Even in areas with lakes and rivers this method has proven handy and successful. Since trees are natural and biodegradable they pose no environmental risks. If you live in an area in which coastal erosion is an issue and you would like to donate your Christmas tree to the cause contact your local Department of Natural Resources for more information.
  4. Create Your Own Mulch and Compost. If you or someone you know has a wood chipper you can create your own mulch that will smell great and is a great way to neaten up the appearance of flower beds and gardens while also locking in moisture. Pine needles are also a nice addition to your compost bin. Pine needles take a long time to break down due to their waxy outer layer, but they are a great way to amend soil for acid-loving plants, like strawberries and rhododendrons.
  5. Contact Your Local Boy Scouts Chapter. Oftentimes Boy Scouts will collect trees to recycle. Get in touch with your local chapter and see if they can help you out. Make sure to get the details as to whether they will pick the tree up (sometimes they may ask for a donation if they come to you) or if you need to bring your tree to a drop-off location.

Tree Recycling

When all else fails a simple Internet search of “Christmas tree recycling” + your location will help you locate ways to recycle your tree post-holiday. There are so many great ways to recycle your tree and it really comes down to which method is the best fit for you and your community. Do you have any additional suggestions about ways to dispose of your Christmas tree in a green manner? Let us know in the comments!

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