Buying a real Christmas tree each year is one positive approach to having a green Christmas. Real Christmas trees spend up to ten years in the ground working as CO2 clearing houses. Artificial trees are often made using plastics which are petroleum-based products. Even in landfills, Christmas trees break down fairly quickly while artificial trees can take decades (or longer) to break down. However, while buying a real Christmas tree does help the environment, recycling your Christmas tree adds the finishing touch.
There are several ways to recycle a Christmas tree. Most councils now have drop off points where you can leave your Christmas tree once you have finished with it. Some councils are going that little extra and offering pick up services. Councils chip these old trees and use the wood chips as mulch on gardens – or sell it to gardeners to use in their gardens. As a mulch, wood chip slowly breaks down adding nutrients back into the soil. In the process, mulches become habitats for a wide range of insects and organisms, all beneficial to gardens.
You can also recycle your Christmas tree yourself. If you have your own garden mulcher, then cut the tree down to suitable sizes before mulching. If you don’t have a mulcher, you can cut the tree up into much smaller pieces and add them to your compost piles. The trunks will take a long time to break down, but they will eventually break down. You can also cut the trunk up, dry it, then use it as fuel in your open fire – just make sure it has dried out thoroughly first as green wood does tend to create a lot of smoke.
By recycling your Christmas tree, you are finishing a cycle that starts with a tiny seed. Rather than adding to our burgeoning land fill this year, recycle that Christmas tree – it’s a fitting end to a tree that’s delivered so much pleasure over the Christmas period.