There are a lot of benefits to having a real Christmas tree in your home as opposed to a plastic one. For starters, you get an authentic tree that smells like the fresh outdoors and even looks better than a tree with branches you have to fluff up yourself. And for some, it doesn’t feel like a real Christmas without an actual Christmas tree you picked yourself from a farm. But after the holidays, you will have to get rid of it and you’re going to need to know the ways to recycle your Christmas tree rather than toss it out for the next garbage day.
By recycling your Christmas tree, you can actually give back to the environment in some ways. If you have your tree mulched, it can provide healthy recycled mulch that will go in different gardens or parks around your neighborhood. You can also provide a natural fish habitat underwater if you recycle your tree through a company that submerges old Christmas trees underwater. And in some places with beaches, they use old Christmas trees to help maintain the quality of sand dunes.
These might not be your reasons for wanting to recycle your own Christmas tree. But if you have made the decision to recycle it rather than throw it away, these are the best ways to do it.
1. Check Your Local Organizations
Some communities offer free tree pickup and recycling. Check with the local offices in your town to find out if or when the service might be available to take the tree off your hands at no additional cost or trouble to you. In these cases, the trees are often recycled for other purposes for the city and all you have to do is leave it out for collection.
2. Chop It Up Yourself
If you have the means and skill to cut up the tree, you can chop it into as many pieces as you need to re-purpose it. Use the trunk as a rustic new flower bed trim and use the branches as a mulch when chopped down to a fine material. The point is, if you can take care of it yourself in this way, it’s a lot easier to recycle and reuse your old Christmas tree.
3. Contact The Nearest National Park Service
Some National Park Services will submerge old Christmas trees into water to use for fish habitats and recycle it that way. You can reach out to the nearest National Park Service to you to see if there is a similar program offered. Trees underwater can make a safe and natural refuge for fish, so you’d really be doing a service for fish as well as getting rid of your tree.
4. Use It For Firewood
If you have the ability to chop the tree up yourself, you can use the trunk and most of the larger branches for firewood. Even if you won’t be able to actually burn the firewood for a few months, you can chop and store the Christmas tree wood for the rest of the winter.
5. Use It For A New Compost Pile
Even if you are new to composting, using an old Christmas tree can be the perfect way to jump start your pile for the first time. You can use most of the branches from the tree to create a healthy layer at the bottom of your compost pile to get it started and arrange them in a way to add a bit of airflow as well. You might need to find a way to recycle the rest of the tree properly, but this is another perfect use if you want to reuse and recycle your tree.
6. See If You Can Return Or Donate The Tree
Believe it or not, some farms or locations which sell Christmas trees will also accept them when you’re done with them for the holidays. You won’t be able to get your money back of course, but some places will take the tree back to recycle it for you at no additional cost. They might even offer a pickup so you don’t have to drive a dead tree, loose pine needles and all, back to the farm yourself.
If you already recycle your cardboard, cans, and plastic, then it makes sense to also recycle your Christmas tree when you’re done with it. Luckily, there is more than one way to do this. So this year, if you opt for the real thing, make a plan ahead of time for how you will recycle it afterward to give back to the environment.