When Christmas is over, it’s time to say goodbye to your Christmas tree. But what’s the best way to dispose of it? Dumping your tree in a landfill, though once a common tradition, is the least environmentally friendly disposal method. Plant matter in landfills creates methane gas, and as your tree biodegrades there, it isn’t helping anything else grow. Here are a few ideas for you if you want to ensure your tree serves a noble purpose in the afterlife.
Christmas tree recycling programs
Christmas tree recycling is an efficient way to dispose of your Christmas tree if you want to be environmentally conscious. Check online to see if your area has a tree recycling program, and if it does, you’re in luck. Sometimes they use a mobile service, which will allow you to arrange a date for pickup. More commonly, there are a few drop-off points in every community where residents can bring their used trees for several weeks after Christmas.
These programs are run by volunteers who collect old Christmas trees and turn them into mulch using wood-chippers. Mulch is an excellent resource for preventing erosion and mitigating weed growth in gardens. It’s also used to attractively landscape public spaces like local parks and playgrounds.
Use it as fuel for a holiday bonfire
Dry pine wood is excellent for kindling. If you cut up your old Christmas tree and separate the parts by size, you’ll have a sufficient pile of small branches and twigs to use to start an outdoor fire. They ignite very quickly, and they burn hot. Use the larger chunks as logs, and you’ve got an excellent way to make full use of your Christmas tree after Christmas.
It’s important to note that burning dry pinewood is risky indoors. Pinewood produces a hotter flame than other woods and burns more rapidly. The best place to burn your old tree is outside. There are ways to burn pine safely indoors if you exercise discretion.
Use the ash to nourish your garden
After burning your Christmas tree, even the ash can serve an environmental purpose. Wood ash contains lime and potassium, two essential ingredients for a healthy garden. If you’re a gardener, try mixing in the wood ash with your compost.
Use the ash to nourish your garden in the spring or autumn by sprinkling it directly onto the soil. As an added bonus, ash can also serve as a natural, harmless pest deterrent. If you were careful to burn your tree totally free of ornaments and chemicals (like fake snow), you now have unexpectedly useful gardening tool.
Move it to the yard
The easiest method of recycling your tree is to leave it in your yard. Standing up or lying on its side, it creates a bushy, brushy area for birds and other small wildlife to shelter from the cold. As it decomposes, the nutrients it contains will seep back into the ground. This method takes no effort, and it’s much better for the environment than leaving your tree to decompose in a trash pile.
If you have a pond in your yard, submerging your tree underwater can make a fine fish habitat. Small fish will use the branches as a hiding place, attracting larger fish to the area. So, you can use it as a sort of long-term, stationary fishing bait.
When Christmas ends, there are many ways you can dispose of your Christmas tree that actually benefit the environment. Let your neighbors and family know that they don’t have to doom their trees to the landfill this year.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of mass-consumption. We can instead look into sustainability in all aspects of our celebrations. Environmentally friendly tree disposal is a great place to start.