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[How to] Ethically dispose of your Christmas tree

“Christmas trees are an important symbol in our festivities over Christmas and the New Year providing joy to all, but they are a resource that can keep on giving.”

Real Christmas trees, unlike plastic ones , are biodegradable. So instead of chucking them in the bin or on the footpath (where they will eventually end up in landfill, producing greenhouse gasses as they decompose), give your tree a second life using these tips and tricks below:

Mulch

If you, a neighbour or your local community centre has a mulching machine (or mulching program), consider turning your tree into mulch for the garden. It will smell amazing, help plants grow and keep out pesky weeds!

Community recycling

Get in touch with your local government or garbage collection authority to find out whether Christmas tree recycling is happening somewhere near you (pickup or drop off). This is a great solution for those without gardens, and who have limited options for reusing trees.

Compost

Cut the pine needle-covered branches into small enough pieces to into your compost. They have the added bonus of making your compost smell gorgeous!

Donate to a good cause

Did you know that Christmas trees are helping the sand dunes in New Jersey, USA, recover from Hurricane Sandy?

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, "Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management."

They also suggest turning your tree into an environmentally-friendly bird feeder: "Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper."


Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.
Here's why.


[All images: Shutterstock]

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