Once the holidays are over, it is time to figure out what to do with your Christmas tree. If you don’t, you might want to consider recycling your tree. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be broken down into natural materials. Who doesn’t want to put their tree to a positive use instead of just dumping it in the garbage?

Depending on where you live, you might want to check with your local municipality to see if they have a recycling program. If there is a program in your community be sure to check and see if there are specific dates and locations for tree recycling. The great thing about the city recycling programs is they do not cost you anything.

Here are a few resources to determine recycling programs where you live:

National Christmas Tree Association - Under the “All About Trees” tab there is a link on How to Recycle.

Pick Up Your Christmas Tree 

Recycle Now 

Make sure to research the procedures ahead of time as many cities have specific recycling rules.  Here are some common ones you might find:

  • Specific dates or timelines on when they will recycle the trees
  • Request the removal of all ornaments, garland, lights, and tree stand (if it has been flocked – sprayed with artificial snow, the tree can’t be recycled).
  • Specific locations to take the tree.  

A benefit to recycling your tree is that many cities when they do a recycling program often make mulch out of the trees and then offer the mulch to their citizens. Depending on the city/county you live in some cities they use the trees as soil or sand erosion barriers. They can also be used on hiking trails as a natural path material.  In these instances, participating in a recycling program is a great way to support your community.

Several easy ways to recycle your tree is by using it in your own garden.  Here are three ways you can use the tree at home:

  • Use it as a refuge for birds.  Place the tree in your backyard or garden by a bird feeder. The birds can then use it as shelter and a place to rest.  Eventually, the branches will break down or you can break them off and continue to use them in your garden.
  • Another way to use them at your home is to cut off the branches and use them to protect perennials from the freeze-thaw cycle that happens during the winter.
  • If you decide to keep your tree and want to recycle it yourself for mulch and don’t own a chipper, you can rent one. If you do this, you might want to get together with some neighbors and split the cost and the mulch.

If you happen to buy a live Christmas tree with a ball, you can plant it in your backyard.  Make sure you dig the hole to put the tree in the ground early in the season when the ground is not frozen.  Also, keep the dirt so you can use it when you plant the tree.

Let us know if your community has a recycling program!

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