How to Dispose your Live Christmas Tree
Every Christmas season, many of us look forward to indulging in the festivities and decorations that come with it. But when the holidays are over, one of the biggest reminders that it has ended is having to figure out what to do with the Christmas tree.
For some, it’s an easy task. Artificial trees can be stored away for future use, and trees that are rented can simply be returned to the rental company. But finding out what to do with a real Christmas tree may require a bit more thought and effort.
Local Recycling Center
The most common way of disposing of a real Christmas tree is to take it to your local recycling center. Many centers will accept trees for free, with some even offering to chip the tree up into mulch. Alternatively, you can also rent a chipper and do it yourself at home.
Call your local waste disposal company. In many areas, these companies will designate exactly when to leave your Christmas tree outside for curbside pick up. If you are unable to find curbside pick up in your area, they may provide suggestions on other ways to dispose of the tree. The most important thing to know is the day the company is coming. If you don’t get the official notice, one thing you can do is to watch your neighbors and see when they put their tree outside. As soon as you see their tree on the curb, it is time to put yours out there too. This always happens sometime in early January, so make sure you keep an eye out.
If there’s no recycling center nearby or your tree is too big to transport, you may want to consider turning it into firewood. Check with your local municipality to make sure it’s allowed and proceed with caution. Make sure to split the tree into smaller logs using a saw or an axe and keep them dry in order to ensure they are safe for burning.
Composting the Tree
You can also compost the tree yourself. To do this, remove all decorations, tinsel, and tree stands from the tree and cut it into small pieces. Then, place the pieces in a compost bin or pile and cover with a layer of carbon-rich materials such as leaves or wood chips. Keep the compost moist and aerate it regularly to speed up the decomposition process. It may take several months for the tree to fully compost, but the resulting compost can be used in your garden to improve the soil and provide essential nutrients
Something you don’t want to do is nothing. Let’s address the option of simply leaving the tree outside to decompose. While this may seem like the most natural and eco-friendly option, it can actually have negative consequences. Live Christmas trees are often treated with chemicals to preserve their freshness and prevent them from drying out, and these chemicals can leach into the soil and potentially harm local ecosystems. Additionally, a decomposing tree can attract pests such as insects and rodents, which can cause problems for both your yard and your neighbors.
Tips for Getting Your Tree Ready for Disposal
- First, remove all decorations and lights from the tree. Be sure to dispose of any broken or damaged decorations, as they can be a safety hazard.
- Once the tree is free of decorations, water it well and let it soak for a few hours. This will help to keep the tree moist and prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- If you live in a cold climate, you can simply leave the tree outside in a shaded area until it dries out completely and becomes brittle. This can take several weeks, so be patient.
- If you live in a warmer climate or if you don’t want to wait for the tree to dry out naturally, you can speed up the process by cutting the tree into smaller pieces and placing them in a wood chipper. This will break down the tree into small, manageable pieces that can be easily disposed of.
No matter how you choose to dispose of your Christmas tree, make sure to do it responsibly and safely. The last thing you want is for your festive season to end with an unwanted fire or injury! And if possible, don’t forget to reuse or recycle your tree for a good cause. With a little bit of effort, you can make sure that the joy of Christmas continues on even after the holidays are over.