Christmas Tree Recycling

Don't let your tree go to waste

There are approximately 30 million cut Christmas trees sold in North America every year. Christmas trees have long been criticized as a waste – a waste of money and a waste for the environment – because, in the end, they wind up on the side of the road waiting for the garbage man.

There are a lot of different ways you can avoid throwing out a Christmas tree. For example, you can buy an artificial tree or you can buy a potted tree that you will plant after the holidays in your backyard, neighborhood or local park.

If you can't resist the feel and smell of a real tree and don't have anywhere to plant it after the season is over, you are stuck buying a cut tree. However, a cut tree doesn't have to be a waste. About 93% of consumers make an effort to recycle or reuse their trees. It is easy and quick to recycle your Christmas tree.

Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

  1. Make sure all Christmas decorations and tinsel are removed from the tree. These are not recyclable!
  2. Contact your Public Works Department or city sanitation service. Most will have recycling facilities and may even come to your home to pick up the tree.
  3. If recycling facilities are not available near your home use your tree as mulch in your garden or take it to a gardening center where they can make wood chips from it. You could even leave it outside for birds and animals to use for shelter and food.
  4. Donate it to a conservation or wildlife group. They will use it for mulch or for habitat for birds and animals.

Christmas Tree Recycling Facts

  1. Tree harvesters plant up to three new trees for each one that is cut down so the use of cut trees at Christmas is no longer a concern for the tree population because they are treated as a farmable resource.

  2. Growing Christmas trees provides shelter and habitat for animals and birds.

  3. Recycled Christmas trees are used for a variety of environmental projects. These include lining nature trails with wood chips, sand and soil erosion alleviation and shoreline stabilization, and bird, animal and fish habitation.

  4. Burning your Christmas tree in your fireplace or wood stove can be dangerous because it causes creosote buildup.
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