25-30 million Christmas trees are sold every year in North America, and many of them get tossed in the landfill when there is a myriad of great recycling ideas for fir trees that can have an important impact on local ecosystems and neighborhoods.
The month leading up to Christmas can be so busy as to make you dizzy, but the few days after the most wonderful day of the year can be just as hectic. There are leftovers to eat, boxes to deal with, presents to sort, and a great big chunk of foliage that is taking up space in your living room.
Last January down in Virginia Beach, locals began bringing their Christmas trees to Chicho’s, a local restaurant looking to utilize them as a way to protect their beachfront town from storm surges.
Volunteers drove around Virginia Beach neighborhoods picking up trees and wreaths that were placed along the curbs, and depositing them in the parking lot behind the restaurant. The trees act as perfect “sand fences” capturing wind-blown sand grains in their needles and branches and preventing the erosion of sand off the beaches.
It’s a simple and effective way of building the dunes back up after storms like Hurricane Florence, when high winds battered the beaches of Croatan and Outer Banks.
This season, Matt Potter, the owner of Chicho’s expects to collect double the amount of trees he managed last year when 500 were gathered up by community volunteers and brought to the beaches.
Chicho’s second annual tree drive runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 16. Trees can be dropped off at the Oceanfront Chicho’s, at 2820 Pacific Ave. Anyone who drops off a tree can also get a large cheese pizza for $7.99. If you need your tree picked up, email [email protected]
Other ways of recycling trees
If you don’t live near Virginia Beach, there are plenty of other ways you can recycle your Christmas tree that can benefit the environment.
If you or a friend has a wood stove, a couple months of seasoning will turn your tree into a decent source of firewood. Pine wood burns fast, ignites quickly, and creates an intense heat as well as a lovely smell.
If you live near a pond or a lake, you can canoe out into the middle of the water and chuck the tree into the murky depths—trees provide great underwater habitat for fish.
Go on the internet and see if you have a landfill that creates community mulch. If you take your tree there it will be chipped up and turned into mulch for people’s gardens.
Next year, buy a living tree, if you have room in your yard, so you can replant it after Christmas and have a supply of Christmas trees in future years.
You also could try and find a place where you can leave your tree, and cover it in bird-friendly treats. It will encourage the birds to build a nest in the shelter of the boughs. Find a place lacking in tree cover and the birds will appreciate the chance to have a home.
If you’ve come up with a clever way to recycle your tree, tell us about it in the comments below!
Plant Some Positivity By Sharing These Ideas With Friends On Social Media — File photo by Dineshraj Goomany, CC