Friday, January 2, 2015

6 Ways to Recycle Your Real Christmas Tree

It's hard to believe it's already January, and time to take down the Christmas tree - a sad time for children (and adults) everywhere.... But you can make this occasion just a little less sad this year by disposing of your Christmas tree responsibly.

Every year, between 34 and 36 million Christmas trees are produced every year. At the end of Christmas season, a lot of these trees end up simply discarded. But there are really much better ways to dispose of a Christmas tree. Ways that are much better for the environment - and not much hassle at all.

Here are a few different ways to responsibly dispose of your real Christmas trees.

1. Curbside Pickup

Don't just throw your tree out onto the curb after Christmas. Many municipalities will recycle your tree into mulch that can be used by the city or its residents. Look up when curbside pickup actually happens in your area. Generally it's around 2 weeks after Christmas. Look up when they're doing pickups and place your tree outside then.

If you put your tree out front too early, it could get treated as trash. If you do it too late, you might miss the curbside pickup window and again the tree will just be treated as trash. Note that some cities don't offer Christmas tree pickups at all, so do make sure you check your county's or locality's website.

English: Christmas Tree recycling bin in Place...
Christmas Tree recycling bin in Place des Vosges (Paris, France). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Look Up Green Non-Profits

Look up green and environmentally oriented non-profits in your area. Chances are many of them will have partnerships with recyclers that help people get rid of their Christmas trees. Generally all the information you need will usually be on their website, though you can also call and ask.

3. Call the Boy Scouts

You can also just have the tree picked up for you by the Boy Scouts. Just call your local Boy Scouts chapter and ask if they have a program to pick up Christmas trees.

You'll generally have to pay them $5 to $10 for this service. But this is a great way to make sure your tree gets recycled, as well as to support your local Boy Scouts chapter and help teach kids the value of helping the community.

4. Use It As Firewood

If you live in a cold part of the country, and you have a fireplace, you could just cut up the tree and use it as firewood. Christmas trees aren't the best burning woods in the world and can be smokier than your average firewood, but it's still a good way to get rid of a tree if push comes to shove. Chop it up and burn it in small pieces. You may also wish to save it and let it dry out in a shed or garage and burn it later in an outdoor fire pit to avoid as much smoke and soot indoors.

5. Shred It Into Mulch

A lot of cities today have programs that shred your tree into mulch for you. Basically a tree shredder drives to your house and the tree is turned into mulch on the spot. This makes a great mulch for pathways and garden walkways.

6. Drive It To the Recycler

If you can't find anyone to pick it up for you and if you miss the curbside pickup deadline, then you can just drive your tree to the recycler yourself. Most recyclers will take your tree completely free of charge.

With so many different options for recycling a Christmas tree, there's really no reason to throw yours away. Avoid waste, and turn your tree into something useful this year!

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