The twelfth day after Christmas arrives. Your once pride of joy now looks like it has had a dodgy haircut. Pine needles are everywhere. The task of getting rid of the Christmas tree begins. An alarmingly high number of people throw their christmas trees out on to the streets, where they end up as festive waste in landfill. Our landfills are already overflowing, and don’t need millions of christmas trees being added to them. Christmas trees are biodegradable – they can be reused and recycled. They are able to feed the earth rather than contributing to damaging it. So instead, kick start the new year off in a green and ecologically friendly manor!
One easy idea is to recycle your once loved tree. Local councils provide schemes that are in place to recycle Christmas trees. Some councils will come round and pick up trees, but if not, check out where your nearest drop off point is. These trees are usually chipped and used as compost. If your council doesn’t have a scheme in place, you could try the garden waste section of the tip. Another place that will often take old Christmas trees off your hands is garden centres. They can turn them into wood chippings to be used in gardens.
Turning your Christmas tree into firewood can keep the magic of the festive season burning for longer. Christmas trees go up quickly and contain a hazardous chemical called creosote so it is highly recommended not to burn your tree in an indoor fireplace or wood stove. A great alternative is to use it in an outdoor fire pit or for a bonfire. Make sure the wood is dry before burning and all tinsel and ornaments (especially the precious homemade angel) have been removed.
If your Christmas tree still has roots, you can replant it in your garden. It can be planted in the soil or put in a larger pot with fresh compost to prosper in your garden. Not only is this good for the environment, but you could always reuse it the following Christmas. If it doesn’t have roots, you can still put it in the garden anyway. Wildlife can use it to create habitats or you could replace the ornaments with birdfeeders.
Christmas trees, dead or alive, are great for gardens. The pine needles from Christmas trees make fantastic mulch. Spreading them over your garden will benefit the soil as they decompose slowly to acidify it, helping acid loving plants to flourish! The limbs and trunks of the tree can be sliced up and used in other areas of the garden. As they rot down, they naturally feed the soil.
Chopping the trunk of your Christmas tree into 5cm discs can make the perfect edging to line flower beds and walkways. If you have a large trunk, you could use the discs as stepping stones. The branches could also be used as plant stakes to help those tomatoes and beans grow next year.