Cutting down a Christmas tree is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my dad hooks up the trailer, our dog hops into the trunk, and we head out to a Christmas tree farm. We head to the Douglas Fir section, find the perfect (or quirkiest) tree, then my dad lays on the ground sideways (while we watch), and saws it down.
The tree is cherished before, during, and after Christmas (until it's awkward that we still have it up). Once we've reached the awkward stage, we usually end up burning it. But there's gotta be something more sustainable - right? So I did a little research. Here are 10 creative ways to recycle your Christmas tree.
1. Feed it to the goats. San Francisco is teaming up with City Grazing (a landscaping company that rents out goats for weed abatement) for trees to recycled into goat food.
2. Sink it. Sunken trees can offer shelter and a feeding area for fish.
3. Dish it up for nature - decorate your tree with popcorn, berries, and other goodies that the birds will love. After the tree starts to decompose, bring it to a chipper and have the remains turned into mulch.
4. Bring it to the zoo. Check with your local zoo, Gulf Shores, AL. gifts their zoo animals with trees to mangle. Anything toxic is used in the ponds for nesting.
5. Build a wall - pine trees can act as natural barriers. Midway Beach in NJ is using old Christmas trees to help build up their dunes - a natural protection from hurricanes and flood damage.
6. Protect salmon - Portland, OR is using recycled Christmas trees to create a salmon habitat.
7. Fuel up - in Tomahawk, WI trees picked up curbside are sent to fuel the boiler heater at a local environmentally friendly mill.
8. Trail blaze - in Clarksville, TN., mulch from evergreen trees is used to cushion pathways and prevent erosion. Using Christmas trees is important because they don't carry invasive species or seeds.
9. Help the herons - in Cook County, IL, birds are getting overcrowded and forced out at the reserves. Christmas trees are used to create nesting structures for the birds.
10. Grow your garden - find a place that will chip up your tree, compost it, then use its beautiful nutrients to grow your garden.
Do you have any fun ways you recycle your Christmas tree? We'd love for you to comment below and hear them :).
- Katie Veldkamp