5 Eco-friendly Ways to Recycling Christmas Trees
It was my first Christmas as a young adult on my own, and I was so excited about having my first live Christmas tree in my own home. Growing up, my family always used artificial trees, so when I was able to experience that amazing evergreen aroma in my living room during the holidays I was hooked.
However, when it came down to tearing down the tree and finding a way to recycle it, I felt a little lost. In fact, I had no idea what to do, I had missed our garbage Christmas tree pickup dates and found myself with my tree hanging out in my backyard for the rest of winter. At that point, I needed to get creative to find other ways to recycle a dead Christmas tree.
With the holidays coming to a close, maybe you too are finding yourself in that same place I was. We are approaching that time of year when we start thinking of what to do with that beautiful tree that has been living in your home for the past month.
Depending on the state and city that you live in might impact what you can do with that tree that has served you so well over the past couple of weeks. While most trash services will pick up your tree with normal garbage pickup and many landfills will accept the drop off of Christmas trees, here are 5 Eco-friendly ways to recycle your old Christmas tree.
- Recycling Christmas Trees at Curb Side
Check the dates in your town, but there will be services that will come by during those dates that will come pick up your Christmas tree from your curb. Make sure to remove all ornaments, tinsel, decoration, and the tree stand.
This fast-growing trend is happening all over the country and one that might catch your attention. As trees are biodegradable, and shredding your tree and creating mulch is a great way to give back to the environment. You can do this yourself if you have the right equipment, or you can contact a hauler and program that could mulch it for you. If you use a mulching service, make sure to find dates and times when they will pick up your tree. They will then return your mulch for you to use as you would like. What a great to allow your tree to keep on giving back to you and your family. You can also use the mulch to create community pathways and trails.
- Soil Erosion Barriers
For states like Louisiana that might be looking to help stabilize lake and river shorelines, they will use Christmas trees to create effective sand and soil erosion barriers. Check to see if there are locations in your area that might use Christmas trees in this way.
- Fish Homes
If you own your home pond or lake or have a friend that does, this might be a way of recycling your tree that you may not have thought about. You can sink your tree into your private pond and create a great refuge for fish as well as breeding and feeding areas. Your town might allow you to dump in a local lake, but you might want to ask permission first.
- Rustic Decorations
When you take the branches off your dead Christmas tree and you are left with just the tree trunk, the possibilities to reuse your loved tree are endless. To give an example, use a saw to cut your tree trunk into small one to one half inch circles. Depending on the length of your tree will determine how many pieces you will get from your trunk. Use these wood cuttings in any way that you can imagine.
Don’t let that holiday spirit die out with your tree. With some extra spirit, you can create amazing pieces for your next year holiday. Use the cuttings to create a wooded wreath for next fall, or use them as is to create a centerpiece for your table or place your jewelry on top of. Another fun way to use the tree trunk pieces is to take three of them and place them on top of each other to create a mini rustic snowman. Another idea could be to save those wood pieces for the spring to use as a border around your garden.
Bonus Tips on Recycling Christmas Trees
- Avoid Burning Your Tree
It’s a good rule of thumb to not burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or a wood stove. The pines, firs, and other evergreens tend to have a high content of flammable turpentine oils. This can create a creosote buildup and risk a chimney fire.
- Removing Your Christmas Tree With No Mess
This might be a little late, but a bit of information to save for next year.
When cleaning up your Christmas tree, the best way to do it is to use a plastic sheet around it to take it outside. You can do this when you set up the tree and then hide the plastic wrap underneath the tree skirt. When you are ready to move it outside, lift up the plastic sheet and cover the tree as you drag it so that the sheet will collect all the fallen needles. You can buy these plastic sheets at any local hardware store.
If you didn’t place a plastic sheet under your tree, you can just take the plastic sheet under the tree the best you can. You can use a garbage bag and cut the sides opening the bag up making it longer to fit for larger trees.
If you decided to buy a pre-cut Christmas tree or discovered one to cut down at a tree farm, you can still let your favorite holiday decoration serve you even as its beautiful green needles turns brown. Whether it’s recycling your tree, creating mulch for your spring garden, a soil barrier, a new fish home, or a fun rustic decoration project – just throwing your tree away is should not be an option. There are so many other amazing ways to let your tree continue to give back to you and your community.
We would love to hear what you do to recycle and reuse your Christmas tree. Do you have any ideas for recycling Christmas trees that you do that we haven’t listed above? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.