One of the most iconic symbols of Christmas may be sitting in your home. Perhaps it is artificial? Or maybe yours is fresh? People, I am talking about Christmas trees!
Every year, between 25 – 30 million fresh (real) trees are sold according to the National Christmas Tree Association. That equates to a lot of potential landfill waste. But before you set your tree out at the curb, consider another option.
For starters, did you know that there are over 4,000 Christmas Tree recycling programs across the United States? Many of them are hosted at the community level, such as by the city forestry or parks department. Some counties also host their own tree recycling program. Residents are notified (typically) in several formats, such as by newspaper articles, inserts in local utility bills, radio spots, and even hosted on city websites. City hosted programs often involve offering several drop-off sites around the community for a set period of time (generally around two – three weeks). The trees are then collected and taken to a facility where they are chipped into mulch. (Cities often post announcements asking that the trees be free of any decorations… so remove all of those ornaments, lights, hooks, and tinsel.)
As a side note, fresh evergreen garland or wreaths are usually not accepted at the fresh Christmas Tree recycling locations. This is primarily due to the fact that wreaths are generally constructed on wire frames. Fresh garlands are made up of small evergreen branches that are bound together with wire. In either case, the wire prohibits these items from being chipped into mulch.
Once the trees are turned into mulch, cities determine how the mulch is to be used. Some use the mulch in garden beds around around town, saving tax payer dollars on a yearly landscape expense. Other cities opt to provide the mulch back to the citizens of the community, often for free or at a minimal cost. This mulch is great for your ornamental garden beds. Not only is the mulch attractive, but is also helps retain moisture in the soil, and helps suppress weeds if applied in a thick enough layer.
So friends, once your fresh tree has served its purpose as a decoration in your home, consider recycling it. Your tree can provide you the gift of mulch.