Smart, Sustainable Ways to Recycle Your Tree
Did you know that real Christmas trees are 100% recyclable, so, after enjoying what for many is the most important purchase of the festive season, instead of sending it to landfill, be kind to the environment and use one of these ideas to sustainably dispose of your tree!
If you know anyone who keeps goats, alpacas or chickens, speak to them about donating your tree for their animals to enjoy in the new year! The trees serve as a playful addition for these species, who use them as scratching pads for their bellies and backs, with the spiky needles and branches perfect for rubbing their furry (or feathery) coats! These animals also enjoy the taste of pine, and while not replacing their normal feed, the needles also provide small amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, minerals and forage too. Livestock and poultry will love them, enjoying them for many days with goats particularly like nibbling on the tree bark!
There are some great ways the garden and wildlife can benefit from used Christmas trees. Consider using the once majestic tree for making useful woodchip mulch using a shredder. If you don’t have one, perhaps a friend has one, or consider borrowing one by asking a local gardening group. Store the woodchip in a sheltered spot in the garden to rot well and, when ready, the woodchip can be used as mulch around trees and shrubs.
Alternatively, the bare twiggy branches can be re-used as plant supports – kept dry they can be used in the spring and summer for colourful climbers. A bare tree can be placed in a garden border for climbers to enjoy working their way through it.
Christmas trees can have a second life, supporting wildlife and small creatures. Branches and twigs from the bare tree can be removed from the trunk and tied in a neat bundle. Placed safely in the garden, or hung from a tree, this will provide a great spot for bugs to hide in. The woody trunk can be used too – cut into small lengths and stacked up somewhere safe in the garden it will serve as a refuge for wildlife.
If you just wish to recycle your tree away from home, consider booking a local charity collection service to come and collect. Many charities run services through a network of volunteers who will come right to your door and collect trees for a nominal fee, in turn raising funds for some great local causes*. Some local councils’ green waste schemes also offer a service to collect Christmas trees early in the new year, turning them into compost or mulch for areas in the local community.
If you chose a rooted pot-grown tree this year, these are excellent sustainable options as they can be planted in the garden after Christmas and used again the coming year. Alternatively, they may be nurtured in their existing pot or re-potted in a larger pot if necessary.
Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, comments: “Real Christmas trees are a brilliant sustainable crop, growing they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. After the festivities are over, cut trees are completely recyclable – perfect for use in the garden for plant supports or to help wildlife and nature.
“Local tree collection services are widely available and many services are run by local charities, which for a nominal charge, will come along and take the tree away and recycle it. It’s a great way to support some fantastic causes and this year*, we have teamed up with some of our local charities close to our garden centres, who provide this service.”
*Local Charity Tree Collection Services
Princess Alice Hospice – Squire’s Long Ditton and Hersham
St Luke’s Hospice – Squire’s Stanmore
Shooting Stars – Squire’s Twickenham, Woking and Shepperton