Following Christmas every year, most of us tend to throw out the decorations, packaging materials and even the Christmas tree itself. Most if not all of these items will eventually end up in landfills, contributing to environmental degradation. Here are some ways in which you can do the environment some good by reusing or recycling the most important item of Christmas, the Christmas tree in and around your home.
Donate to Recycling Centers
Check for a local recycling center in your neighborhood or city that would accept Christmas trees. There are many such centers which recycle these trees by sending them through the chipper and then using them as mulch in parks and other green areas. These centers will most possibly have drop off areas where you can drop your Christmas tree. Better yet, some centers also have special Christmas tree pickup days as well as times. You can arrange for your tree to be picked up by a center this way, thus reducing the need to transport the tree yourself.
Reuse as Fish Habitat and Food
Do you have a pond in your garden? If yes, then simply place the Christmas tree (or rather dump it) in the pond. The pines of the tree will decompose over time and attract algae, thus doubling as both food and habitat for the fishes in the pond. If you don’t have a pond in your garden, consider dumping the tree in a lake or river near your home. You can also contact some fishery departments that can collect the tree to be used in community ponds and lakes.
Make Mulch for Plants
You can make use of your old Christmas tree to make mulch for your garden. All you need to do is cut off the branches and then shake them so that the dead needles drop off. As they tend to decompose very slowly, the dead needles will not collect mold and will keep your plants pest and weed free for extended periods.
Make Firewood for your Home
Of course, one of the best ways you can reuse a Christmas tree is cut it to make firewood for your home. Cut the tree and store it in a warm place for you will need to wait for the log is dry enough to be burnt. You can use the needles quickly though.
Make a Birdhouse
A Christmas tree can work great as a birdhouse. Transport the tree to your lawn or backyard. Remove all the decorations and add some shelves in between the branches. Hang some bird feeders on the branches and voila! You have your own very own bird house made with a little creativity and a giant sized Christmas tree.
Make a Garden Bed Liner
This DIY project will provide you with a really cool option to line your garden. Saw off the branches of the Christmas tree. Next, saw the trunk, making two inch thick round logs which can act as garden liners. The branches can be further sawed to make coasters for your dining table.
Feed it to the Elephants
In case you did not know, elephants like to eat pine trees. While the oil found on the tree branches is known to aid digestion, the needles are known to clean an elephant’s teeth effectively. There are many zoos that also feed their elephants Christmas tree. See if you can contact such a zoo or wildlife center that can take away your Christmas tree for the same purpose.
Eat it yourself
Another surprising fact! Pine needles are very edible and eatable. While you cannot munch on them directly, you can add them to teas and the infusions added to marinades and sauces. Just make sure to wash them beforehand. Although not all pine is edible, so check with local authorities to see if you have the right variety.
In case you did not know it, there are plenty of ways in which your Christmas tree can be recycled and reused after Christmas. From recycling the tree to using it as mulch, fish food or food for elephants, a Christmas tree can still don many roles after its most important job is finished.