Christmas trees are the hallmark of the holiday season. In 2018, 32.8 million real trees and 23.6 million artificial trees were purchased in the U.S.

So what should happen to all these trees when the season is over? Though many might be tempted to throw their tree in the trash for the sake of time, never do this. They can all be put to good use! Read on for the ultimate guide on how to recycle Christmas trees.

Recycling Real Christmas Trees

Real trees are biodegradable, so there are plenty of options when it comes to disposing of your Christmas tree.

1. Look Into Pick-Up and Drop-Off Services

Many counties set up recycling centers for Christmas trees. Check with your city’s government or council to see if they offer this kind of service. Earth911 is a great source for finding Christmas tree recycling programs around your area.

Once you find a place, you can drop off your tree and the recycling center will take care of the rest. Some cities even provide convenient curbside pick-up services that usually take place during the two weeks after Christmas. Be sure to check with your city on pick-up time and any specific requirements, as some services have height limitations on trees.

The centers typically recycle Christmas trees to create useful materials that help provide green environments for our communities. Your tree will go right back where it came from–the earth!

  • Mulch – When centers run the tree through a chipper, it turns into mulch. This mulch is used by local parks and gardens to help their soil retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. You can even take some home for your own garden!
  • Soil erosion barriers – Christmas trees can be used to make soil erosion barriers that help combat pollution and contaminants that can permeate our surroundings.
  • Fish feeders – When these trees are sunk into lakes or ponds, they become a great source for food and refuge for fish. If there are any game or fishery departments near you, reach out to them for further information.
  • Hiking trail paths – Communities use old trees to lay out hiking paths that not only protect the safety of humans, but the natural habitats of the surrounding areas.

2. Donate It to Animals

If you live near a zoo, call them and ask if they accept tree donations. Not only do Christmas trees provide a fun playground, but they can also be a great snack option for animals such as kangaroos, elephants, and goats.

3. Make Firewood

Though you may need to wait a few months for the wood to dry, Christmas trees make great firewood for any upcoming spring and summer barbecues and camping trips you might have planned. You can simply chop up your tree and set the pieces aside until they dry.

4. Make Tea

A fun little project you can do from your old tree is making tea from pine needles. If they are still green, you can toss about half a cup of pine needles into boiled water with lemon slices, or with your favorite tea such as herbal or black tea. Let it steep for a few minutes and serve!

Disposing of Artificial Christmas Trees

As most fake trees are made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), they are not recyclable and will simply sit in a landfill. But that doesn’t mean you have limited options when disposing of your Christmas tree. Here are some thoughtful ways to give it a new home.

1. Donate It
There’s nothing like spreading holiday cheer by donating your tree to your local community. The great thing about artificial trees is that they never die, so you can pass them along to those in need. Organizations such as schools, nursing homes, and charities are wonderful options. You can even drop it off at donation centers such as Salvation Army or Goodwill.

2. Re-purpose It
With some wire cutters and ribbons, you can use your fake tree to make wreaths, brooches, and even hairpins for the next holiday season. You’ll have plenty of material to work with, so you can make enough to gift them to your family and friends.

3. Save It for Next Year and the Next!
A fake tree can last for decades, which is one of the main reasons why 81 percent of 95 million households own one. So if you’re not feeling up to donating it or are looking to upgrade, keep your fake tree and reuse it for several years.

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Contact Spring Power & Gas to learn more about how you can offset your energy use today. Through efficient and friendly customer service, we strive to minimize carbon footprints and create a greener world for you and your loved ones.