2 January 2020

How to dispose of your Christmas tree

Read Time: 4 mins

Now that the festivities are over, many people have already started taking down their decorations. Although there will be some people that are clinging on to Christmas and keeping theirs up until the 12th night. If you have a fake Christmas tree, then it will be time to put it back in its box until next year. However, if you opted for a real tree in 2019, then you will need to think about what’s next. Unfortunately, Christmas trees can’t just be collected along with your normal waste collection.

What should you do with your real Christmas tree?

Why disposing of Christmas trees can be difficult

For many people, disposing of a real Christmas tree can be quite difficult. They are often very large and won’t fit in the normal sized garden waste wheelie bins. Some councils don’t even offer garden waste bins or they make you pay for them. Christmas trees are not something that you can put into your normal household waste either. You don’t want them to go to landfill. The carbon footprint of a 2m tall real tree is around 16kg of CO2 according to the Carbon Trust. The carbon footprint of a tree becomes much bigger if it ends up in landfills. With around 7million real trees being sold in the UK each year, there would be a huge, negative impact on the environment if they were all sent to landfill. So, what is the best thing you can do with your Christmas tree?

Replant it outside

If you’re particularly green-fingered, you might want to have a go at replanting your tree. To replant a Christmas tree, you first need to ensure that you have bought one that still has a healthy root ball attached. This will usually be wrapped in burlap, come in a pot and is a more expensive option. If you’ve kept up with watering and looking after it while it’s been in your house, then you shouldn’t have a problem replanting it outside.

Donate it

Depending on your area, there may be somewhere that is accepting donations of Christmas trees. If you have a zoo nearby, it’s worth seeing if they will take a tree off your hands. In Berlin and Belfast, the zoos take donations of Christmas trees for the animals. They are enjoyed as a treat by goats, monkeys and elephants. Although you will have to ensure that the tree hasn’t been in contact with any harmful chemicals and is free of any decorations. You can also check nearby farms.

christmas tree sign

Recycle it

Once you have stripped your tree bare of decorations and tinsel, you can recycle it. If you can get your tree down to your local recycling centre, then they will happily accept it. Leftover Christmas trees are recycled and put to good use. In some areas, the trees are turned into wood chips which are then used in local parks and play areas. You will get the satisfaction of being able to give back to your local community with your donation.

Alternatively, if you are not able to get the tree to your local recycling centre yourself, then you can see if your council will collect it. Many local councils will arrange special tree collections after Christmas. Have a look on your council’s website to see if they have anything in place around you. In most cases, you simply need to leave the tree on the pavement on a certain day and it will be collected.

What should you do with plastic Christmas trees?

Many people have been switching to real Christmas trees in order to use less plastic. However, if you have decided to make the switch yourself, don’t just throw away your plastic tree. If it is still good enough to use, you can donate it to a charity shop or to a family member. As they are usually made of many different materials, they can’t be recycled. It is important to make sure you reuse plastic items as much as possible.

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