Christmas Tree Recycling

The Ubiquitous Examples of Christmas Tree Recycling

Real Christmas Trees are biodegradable, which means they are easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Different communities nationwide are recycling and reusing Christmas trees in many ways.   The trees offer beauty and a festive spirit during the holiday.  Rather than filling a landfill with them, consider recycling.  Doing so lets the gift of the tree keep giving.  The trees hold the possibility for becoming wood chips, mulch and compost.   Christmas Tree DecorationFences formed by the trees protect and rebuild fragile beach and coastal land.  Possibilities do not stop there however.  Electricity generated from the trees rewards communities recycling as well.

Christmas Tree Recycling  in Georgia

 The Christmas tree recycling program in Georgia fits in well with the state’s stellar reputation as a recycling hero.  The program is top-notch, right along with the creative name, “Bring One for the Chipper.”  Trees are either dropped off at designated sites or picked up, depending on the desires of the community.  The trees are then turned into mulch which is then used in playgrounds, individual yards, and improvement projects.  The project involves the Keep Georgia Beautiful organization along with private sponsors and volunteers.  Over 4 million trees have been recycled there.  Think about that, 4 million!

Alabama and Christmas Tree Recycling

A tedious, slow recovery followed Hurricane Ivan in 2004 for the state of Alabama. Sand dunes and beaches were destroyed along with endangered animals living there.  At one time, the population of the Alabama beach mice appeared entirely decimated.  Christmas tree reChristmas Tree Farmcycling came to the rescue in restoring the fragile ecosystem.  A joint venture between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and volunteers saved the dunes.  More than 3,000 feet of sand fencing was constructed with a Christmas tree at the base of each. These Christmas Trees were different on that they too had been devastated by the Hurricane Ivan and not sold and decorated.  A local Christmas tree farmer donated the crop.

 Louisiana Gets in On Christmas Tree Recycling

Louisiana faces a similar problem.  The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources estimates the state losing 25 to 35 square miles of coastal wetlands every year due to erosion.  These wetlands are crucial as they provide protection against hurricane surges and natural treatment of storm water as well as nourishment for fisheries.

Jefferson Parish in Louisiana qualifies as a success story in the fight against the ocean erosion.  Since 1986 they have been using discarded Christmas Trees to fight the ocean.  Over 1.5 million Christmas Trees recycled formed fences to combat erosion and slow wave action.  Nationwide recognition has been give to the program which uses a helicopter on loan from the Army National Guard.  Large bundles of trees are dropped into the marshes.  A fun note involves the fact that this group received 70 Christmas Trees from the White House in 1997.  The outcome of the program is impressive.  Over 250 acres of marshland have been restored via 8 miles worth of tree fences. 

 California In On the Game for Christmas Tree RecyclingChristmas Tree Recycling Point

San Diego gets in on the Christmas tree recycling fun as well.  Cities often join the recycling efforts through transforming used Christmas Trees into mulch for use in city beautification and improvement projects.  What is special about San Diego is the offer of the mulch free to residents throughout the year.  Residents either leave their used trees at the curb or may deliver them to 18 drop off locations.  High-quality compost, wood chips, and mulch are made as the trees are recycles. 

 Tennessee Not to Be Forgotten in Christmas Tree Recycling

At Dunbar Save State Park, the park’s hiking trails are improved every year with over 1,000 Christmas Trees mulched for that specific purpose.  Walkways are cushioned and erosion prevented.  Volunteers make it happen at Dunbar Cave State Park in Tennessee.  A major reason for using the Christmas tree mulch, which, by the way, is the ONLY mulch used, revolves around the fact that using just this mulch prevents any invasive species or seeds from entering the park.

Wisconsin And a Not So Visible Example of Christmas Tree Recycling

The beaches saved and walking trails formed offer easily visible proof of the power of Christmas tree recycling.  Out of sight, but not out of mind as a theory comes into play here as well.  In Tomahawk, Wisconsin, the residents recycle Christmas Trees but can’t as easily see the results.  Packaging Corporation of American hires out the job of grinding up the trees which are dropped off at a specified site.  The resulting materials are then taken to the company’s mill which uses them as boiler fuel to power the paper mill plant.

Christmas Tree Recycling in Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont plays as well in the Christmas tree recycling game. They urge residents to donate their tree for free in a project that turns the trees into electricity rather than discarding the tree in the woods.  Over 5,000 trees are collected.  Chipping and burning of the trees then generates electricity for the area power companies.   Rather than filling up a landfill with the trees, the material is used as fuel right there for the local residents.  The McNeil Plant in Burlington proudly boasts the honor of being the largest in its area to turn wood into power. 

Provided here are but a few examples of Christmas tree recycling programs. Decorate a beautiful tree for the season. The smell and delight of having a real tree makes the effort worthwhile.  Go that extra step to do a quick search on how to let the tree keep on giving after its purpose is served as a holiday focal point. Most major cities have recycling programs.   Sometimes all the effort required is to put the tree on the curb at a certain time.

Christmas Tree Recycling and a Great Book ot End the Season

If children are involved in the process of getting and decorating a tree, get a copy of the book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  As the tree is taken down, read the book.  Potentially a life-long understanding of the importance of continued giving of natural resources  results from doing so.  The story presented by Silverstein is not one directly about recycling.  A tree provides a little boy with The Giving Treemuch enjoyment as he grows up, and in the end, the greatest gift of life.  The boat cuts down the tree to make a boat.  As the tree maintains that it has nothing left to give, the boy now expresses a need for a place to just sit and relax.  Of course the tree, now a stump, is pleased to oblige.  It is a story of the gift that keeps on giving.  Recycle the Christmas tree, and read the book.  The holiday will be better for that effort.