How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Michael Nolan
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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), North Americans buy about 33 million fresh cut Christmas trees every year. We enjoy them throughout the holidays, but when the season is over our attention turns to packing up the decorations until next year.

While artificial Christmas trees can be dismantled and stowed away with the rest of the seasonal decor, live Christmas trees will need to be disposed of somehow. Before you toss your tree out with the trash, consider the options for recycling your Christmas tree and you might discover just how easy it is to get your tree out of the house and do something good for the environment at the same time.

You may be wondering why you should bother recycling your Christmas tree in the first place. They are biodegradable, after all, so why not just toss it into the landfill? While trees are in fact biodegradable, the process of adding waste to a landfill creates an anaerobic environment that greatly decreases the flow of oxygen necessary to break down trees, paper, or anything else that is considered biodegradable. Without oxygen, it takes much longer to break down.

Many Home Depot locations across the country offer Christmas tree recycling free of charge. Call your local Home Depot store to find out if they are participating. If not, Earth911 offers a handy search tool to locate Christmas tree recycling options near you.

Most of these tree recycling programs turn spent holiday trees into beneficial mulch, but that’s not the only way that Christmas trees are being recycled around the country. In some areas, recycled trees are being used to create habitats for fish and other aquatic life in local ponds and lakes, as well as helping to slow erosion.

The programs available in your area may vary, but one thing that will remain the same no matter where you live. Recycling your Christmas tree is the right thing to do, so Let’s Do This!

photo: flickr/jonny2love

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