Help the Planet by Recycling Your Christmas Tree
6 ideas for putting your tree to good use after the holidays
“The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature,” Andy Rooney once said. Many of us agree, as Americans purchase 25-30 million live Christmas trees a year. Post-holidays, keep the spirit of giving alive with one of these six recycling options.
1. Prepare it for
your curbside Christmas tree recycling program. Many trash/recycling
providers pick up Christmas trees to be turned into mulch. Contact your
provider to learn about pickup times.
2. Drop if off at a
tree recycling center, which will turn the tree into mulch. Many cities and
counties offer free drop-off, explains the National
Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), so check with your local government.
3. Compost it. You can saw it up if your trash/recycling provider offers a separate bin for yard/food waste. Another option: Use it in your own garden. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says: Run it through a wood chipper, and then use the chips to cover your garden bed and enrich your garden’s soil.
4. Contact the Boy Scouts. Many troops offer a pickup service for a small donation (such as $5), explains the NCTA.
5. Create a brush
pile in your yard.
Use the tree as the base, then add eight 6- to 8-foot
untrimmed branches in a diagonal teepee fashion, advises the Humane Society, keeping the brush
pile away from your house and other structures. This provides food and shelter to reptiles
and amphibians, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels and other local wildlife.
6. Donate it to a
nature restoration project. In Louisiana, the LSU Agricultural
to fortify wetlands; the trees trap sediment, allowing plants to
take root and protect the remaining soil from washing away. Other organizations,
Valley Trout Unlimited in Portland, Oregon, use recycled Christmas trees to
protect fish habitat. Doing some
research can reveal whether any local non-profits need trees for these types of
Oh, and take heart that our Christmas tree habit can be “green.” Tree farms plant one to three seedlings for every Christmas tree used, according to the NCTA. Plus, the estimated 350,000 U.S. acres growing Christmas trees preserve green space. Just be sure to recycle your tree when you take down the holiday decorations.