Trashed Christmas trees end up in landfills where they can take decades to decompose, and once they finally do, they release noxious methane, a greenhouse gas that’s worse for the environment than carbon dioxide
Here are 5 tips for recycling or reusing your Christmas tree instead:
But Before Your Recycle…
Make sure you remove ALL decorations from the tree, as well as the plastic bag you use to drag it to the curb. Items like Christmas lights and ornaments not only damage the chippers they use to recycle trees, but can also cause serious harm to the individuals operating the machinery.
Note: Unfortunately, if you have an artificial tree or a flocked tree—the ones sprayed in that fake snow—you’re not going to be able to recycle it.
Support Your Community
Often to benefit local parks and animal habitats, many cities collect Christmas trees and repurpose or recycle them to support the local community.
Search online or contact your city directly to learn how to take advantage of their recycling program.
Recycle it Yourself
Several local organizations—such as the Boy Scouts, game & fishery depts., even zoos and animal sanctuaries—accept trees from those looking to recycle them on their own.
Visit Earth911.com to find a recycling option near you.
If you have access to a wood chipper, your unwanted Christmas tree can be easily transformed into excellent compost.
For those without a compost pile, your Christmas tree’s branches are perfect for starting one. A 5-inch stack of thin evergreen branches makes for a great compost base, allowing plenty of airflow for a productive bin or pile. Then, add your compostable items like kitchen scraps on top and you’re good to go.
Return it to Nature
For those in rural areas, returning your tree to nature by simply placing it somewhere on your land is also an option. Not only will this provide food and housing for wildlife, but the tree’s needles can be harvested for an effective, slow-to-decompose mulch.