tips, topics, info and insight to help you save money and make our world a little greener

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Recycle That Tree

I'm not one of those folks who like to keep the Christmas tree up until Valentine's Day. By New Year's, I'm ready to pack up the ornaments and haul the tree out of the house before the needles start falling in earnest. But whether you're like me and enjoy the tree for only a week or two, or if you like to wring every last bit of holiday joy from Old Tannenbaum, what to do with the tree after it's holiday purpose is over is an important environmental issue.

Each year, Americans buy between 25 and 30 million cut Christmas trees, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Unfortunately, the majority of those trees wind up in landfills. That doesn't have to happen. Currently there are about 4,000 local Christmas tree recycling programs scattered throughout the of them that I started here in New Hope, PA last year.

It wasn't very difficult to do. First, I got permission from our Borough Council to organize the tree collection. Then I solicited help from a local landscaper, Hugh Marshall. He provided a truck, a chipper, one of his workers and his own time. I sent out a press release to the local paper giving the date and time for pick up. In addition, I arranged for a drop off spot in the parking lot of a townhouse community for people who weren't ready to part with their trees by the collection date. Hugh, his employee and I spent a couple of hours driving around town picking up the trees and pushing them into the chipper. Later Hugh used the mulch on jobs for his clients. Our first effort netted about 100 trees. This year, we're hoping to recycle about half again as many.

You can read a little more about organizing a local Christmas tree recycling program here:

What do you do with your Christmas tree? Please share.