DAY 2: 12 Days of HOTBIN Composting Christmas Tips
DAY 2: Oh Christmas Tree. Christmas trees have both an environmental as well as an economic cost. In the USA, 30 million Christmas trees ($6 billion) are sold and disposed of each year. By the first week in January, we experience a familiar sight of trees discarded outside driveways. These days, some trees are collected and composted by local providers (at a cost), while others head to local landfills.
Both options, comes at a cost to either local government agencies, or to our environment.
According to US statistics, the disposal cost of each tree averages $1.50 in fees and landfill taxes. Furthermore, discarded trees are sent to landfill, with an estimated carbon footprint of 35 lbs. per an average 6-feet tall tree. The following is due to methane gas being produced as the whole tree decomposes. Interestingly enough, burning or chipping trees can reduce this carbon footprint by 80%.
Useful tips for Christmas trees recycling
The best way to minimize the impact of using a Christmas tree is to make sure that it doesn’t go to waste at the end of our holiday season. Here are some practical ways to recycle Christmas trees.
- (Best) Use living Christmas trees that come with their roots intact and can be replanted soon after the holidays.
- If decorating a living tree to further plant it is not an option, you can recycle it yourself by cutting the trunk for later use in your garden to serve as a resting spot for birds and other types of small animals.
- You can find a provider with a chipper and transform the thicker part of your tree into mulch for use in your garden.
- (If you don't have a composter) You can preserve needles from the branches and store them in paper bags to preserve their smell. Add aromatic sachets and potpourris to use around your house.
- If you don’t want to deal with recycling on your own, most local municipalities have recycling programs for Christmas trees, for free or for a small fee. Just make sure to check the pickup dates and don’t forget to leave the tree in the designated space for this service. Some providers will pick the used trees and turn them into mulch that you can get afterwards for use in your garden. Others will turn your tree into ground cover to use on public buildings and parks in the area.
- If you own a HOTBIN, you can chop the thinner parts and use it as bulking agent (while it lasts) with each batch of your composting mix.