Every year in the United States, approximately 25-30 million Christmas or holiday trees are bought and sold. Of these, many millions are thrown away and sent to the landfill. If you purchased a real tree this year, think twice before throwing it out—and wasting all that potential.
There are a whole host of other ways you can dispose of—or reuse—your tree to create real value in your home or your community.
1. Recycle your tree within your community
Many communities provide tree recycling services just after the holidays, including curbside collection and drop-off locations. These trees are given a new life in local ecosystems - as mulch or compost on public lands, soil erosion barriers by local rivers, wave breaks at the beach, or path material in parks. Check out local non-profits or your city’s Sanitation, Environmental Services, or Public Works department to find out what your options are.
Missed your local tree collection? Not to worry! Cutting up the tree and placing it in your green waste container will get it to just as good a home.
2. Recycle your tree yourself
Have a garden that needs a bit of love? Turning your tree into mulch is a great do-it-yourself option. Shredded and composted needles and branches make excellent food for your vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs when spring rolls back around. If you are not using your garden to grow food yet, 2019 is the time to start! To learn more about starting your own urban garden, check out our previous post.
Not feasible to start your own urban garden? Check out local community gardens where you can participate and/or recycle your trees.
3. Upcycle your tree
Turn recycling your tree into a fun family activity by creating your own wooden goodies! With a few simple woodworking tools and a good tutorial (there are hundreds online), you can get to fashioning wooden coasters, arbors or trellises, garden plant supports, or wood ornaments for next year.
So try not to leave your tree out in the cold this January. It has such potential—so many places it could go, so many things it could become. Whether you are giving it a new role in your own home or sharing it with your community, do some real good with your tree this year.
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