One of my relatives used to tell me that keeping my Christmas tree up after New Year’s Day brought bad luck. However, I think he might have been confused. According to tradition, the Twelfth Night of Christmas, or January 5, is when you should put away all your Christmas tree decorations. Otherwise, you risk the chance of rampant tree spirits taking over your house, and we all know you don’t want that to happen.
At any rate, the holiday season is wrapping up quickly. Most of you probably have “take down the ol’ Christmas tree” on your to-do list. But what do you do with it? Do you just throw it on the curb? Do you throw it in the backyard? Where on Earth do you put it? You certainly can’t leave it up in your living room, because by July, people might start giving you weird looks.
You may be in luck! Many cities around the U.S. offer Christmas tree recycle programs. For a minimal fee, or even free of charge, they’ll take your tree off your hands and turn it into soil and mulch. They use these composted materials in local parks or sell it back to residents who use them in their gardens.
Make sure you remove all the bulbs and tinsel before you recycle your Christmas tree. It seems silly to mention, but sometimes people forget these things. You don’t want to lose your favorite decorations, and tinsel doesn’t break down easily.
As I began writing this, I started to wonder for what kinds of things people use recycled Christmas trees. I was surprised to find some interesting alternative uses for them.
For those of you living in the Los Angeles area, your Christmas tree could protect marine life. California’s Department of Fish and Game uses your old tree to give smaller fish places to hide from predators. It seems weird, but I’ve seen tons of underwater trees while SCUBA diving, and fish love these little sanctuaries.
RealChristmasTree.org notes that many people put their trees in their backyard or garden area to serve as birdhouses. Like the trees submerged underwater, the branches provide birds and other small animals with shelter from predators and weather.
Many local communities also use trees to prevent erosion on river and lake beaches. Additionally, they use branches and mulch to create paths in and around parks. A lot of parks here in Michigan utilize this to save money and keep paths safe for visitors.
Recycling your Christmas tree helps the environment in many ways – and frees those tree spirits! To find a recycle park near you that accepts trees, visit Earth911.com.
How did you recycle your Christmas tree this year? Share what you did with other Zing readers!