After the holidays, you may be wondering about what to do with your Christmas tree. It can’t stay in your house, it’s a fire hazard and takes up quite a bit of room. You don’t want to throw it away with the regular trash to fill up the landfill either. So what can an environmentally-conscious person do with their trees after the holidays? Tree recycling is probably available in your area.
Curbside Pickup – The most convenient option for recycling your tree might be to leave it at your curb for recycling. Your local trash company might have this option, check with them to see if it is available. Environmentally aligned web sites like Earth911.com can also tell you places that are available to recycle your Christmas tree.
Mulching Programs – Some communities will take your tree, chip it, and turn it into mulch. This might be a good option if you are a gardener or know a gardener. You can check with your local Public Works Department for more information. If you have a friend or a neighbor with a wood chipper, they might also perform this service for you.
Wreaths – If you’re the crafty type of person, why not reuse the branches to make holiday wreaths? You can also create festive table centerpieces for your New Year’s party.
Getting Your Tree Ready
In order to get your tree ready to recycle, you’ll first have to remove all the ornaments, lights, garland, tinsel, and stand. In some areas, you will also have to cut your tree in half, as they are often required to be cut into four-foot lengths. Sometimes you will have to be able to fit your tree into your lawn waste container.
If you have a flocked tree, you might not be able to recycle your tree, and will have to throw it out with the regular trash. Check your trash company to find out if your flocked tree can be recycled in your area.
If you are using an artificial tree, you cannot recycle your tree through these programs. Your best bet would be to pack the tree up and reuse it next year, or advertise it through Craigs List or Freecycle.
Uses For Recycled Trees
Recycled trees obviously won’t be decorated the following year, but there are plenty of uses for them. Because trees are biodegradable, they can be used for many purposes.
Soil Erosion Barriers – recycled Christmas trees can be used as soil and erosion barriers, especially around lakes. Louisiana uses recycled Christmas trees on the river delta.
Paths for hiking trails – Shredded tree chips can be used on hiking paths.
Mulch – Used by gardeners.
Fish Feeding Areas – In private ponds, fish can enjoy trees as a refuge and as a feeding area.
Do Christmas Trees Make Good Firewood?
If you live in a cold climate, you may be tempted to chop up your Christmas tree and use it for firewood. This is not a good idea. According to pickyourownchristmastree.org , pines, firs, and other evergreen trees have a high content of flammable turpentine oils, which can lead to creosote buildup in your chimney and start a fire. Yikes! Don’t do that.
Many counties will recycle your Christmas tree after the holidays, giving it new life, and keeping them out of the landfills. You can check with your local trash company or a web site like Earth911.com for more information.