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Christmas is Over, but the Tree Doesn't Just Disappear

Every year, Christmas goes by too fast. We spend weeks preparing, decorating and cooking and in one joyous day it’s all over and we are left with the skeletons of gifts given, a slightly dimmer gleam from lights and decorations and a dishwasher full of our special purpose flatware. While it’s a major bummer to “undeck” the halls, we still have to make conscious decisions about what to do with the ultimate in Christmas symbols: the Christmas tree.

First of all, do your research. Leaving your tree on the curb does not mean that it will be recycled or composted. Earth 911 has put together the most comprehensive list to date of recycling centers and services to date. Keep in mind that even though Christmas trees are entirely biodegradable, we still need to help them along by turning them into mulch or donating them to other eco-conscious causes.

Some states have made huge progress in environmental projects using donated Christmas trees. For example, Cook County, Illinois has used them to create habitats for herons and egrets that have been pushed out of their homes by development and construction. Keene, New Hampshire sunk Christmas trees in their natural lakes and ponds to create hiding and feeding structures for fish, ultimately increasing the fish population and the spoils of fishing. Clarksville, Tennessee uses Christmas tree mulch as a natural cover for trails in its state park. And last, the Packaging Corporation of Tomahawk, Wisconsin uses the trees as boiler fuel to power its mill.

While having your tree picked up, dropping it at recycling center or donating it to a local cause are wonderful options for disposing of your tree, there are also some do-it-yourself options that may be more appropriate. Stay in the Christmas decorating spirit and adorn it with homemade popcorn garland, peanut butter filled pinecones and orange slices and place it in your backyard to create your own bird sanctuary. You can always mulch the tree yourself and reuse it in your garden to give life to other vegetation.

Whatever you decide to do with your Christmas tree, be sure to do your research to determine the best environmentally friendly option for you. The tree doesn’t have to stop bringing joy just because Christmas is over.

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