- Christmas trees make high-quality mulch and compost material.
- Christmas trees may have different uses in different regions after the holidays.
- Most municipalities offer Christmas tree recycling programs.
The tree stands tall in the living room. It faithfully serves the newly found home, sheltering the neatly wrapped boxes that crowd its floor. It wears shiny ornaments and bright lights. It is film worthy. This is this year’s Christmas tree.
About 30 million Christmas trees are sold each year. According to the National Christmas Tree Association.
But what happens to them after the holidays? Like Santa Claus and his reindeer, these trees never return to the North Pole.
What about trees that never become homes?
The Christmas tree gives as much as it does after the holidays.
What happens to unsold Christmas trees?
Not every fir tree makes a cozy home. Some never make it off the farm or parking lot. But they all generally share the same fate.
“The biggest decision for unused Christmas trees … is to turn them into mulch,” says horticulture professor Richard Bates, who teaches a class on Christmas tree management at Pennsylvania State University.
“There are thousands of established projects, usually run by municipalities or community-based groups, that collect, chip and compost them — sometimes reselling that end-use product,” Bates told USA Today.
What should I do with my Christmas tree?
Find one of these programs in your area and recycle your Christmas tree after the holidays, experts recommend. Most cities and counties offer curbside pick-up or Christmas tree drop-off sites, according to Jill Sidebottom, spokeswoman for the National Christmas Tree Association.
The city of San Diego takes north of 70,000 Christmas trees from residents through its recycling program, according to Ed Baskin, who helps run the program.
Trees tend to produce high-quality wood chips and mulch, Baskin said. In San Diego, the city uses mulch and compost products made from trees in its parks and provides the products to residents for free.
Trees find new afterlife purposes depending on where they are. In some places, for example, to collect wood The fight against beach erosion.
And even some municipalities Placing trees in a pond That’s because they make excellent habitat for smaller fish, Bates says.
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When should I take down my Christmas tree?
There is no definitive answer to this question.
Most people take down their trees after the New Year. Some Christmas traditions call for the tree to be kept at least through Epiphany on January 6, when the three kings came to Jerusalem, Sidebottom says.
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For safety, it’s best to keep your tree green and fresh by watering it throughout its life cycle. Dry wood in the house will cause fire. According to Baskin, dry trees are also difficult to mulch. Be sure to remove any ornaments and decorations before recycling your tree.