How to recycle your Christmas tree

16 Dec 2014
HomeCompany NewsEnvironmentHow to recycle your Christmas tree

Recycle-your-Christmas-TreeOnce the festivities are over, knowing what to do with your unwanted Christmas tree can be extremely difficult. However, we have a range of strategies you could take, whether yours is real or artificial, that help you avoid the wastefulness of simply throwing it in a bin or skip.

Real Christmas trees

Many people love the process of picking out a real Christmas tree, and enjoy the smell and authentic look it brings when displayed at home. However, purchasing a real Christmas tree means you have to contend with its disposal each year.

Firs, pines and spruces are natural waste that break down and put valuable nutrients back into the earth, so it would be a shame to send yours to landfill. However, dumping one in the local field is illegal – you should use a proper recycling service.

Find out whether your local council will collect your real Christmas tree, or discover a recycling bank you could use, by entering your UK postcode on Recycle Now. You can then rest assured that your tree will be efficiently recycled, with the wood chippings often being used in parks.

Of course, you could also cut up your Christmas tree and put it into your garden waste wheelie bin, or use them to make mulch. The National Christmas Tree Association also recommends standing it outdoors and hanging on food to attract birds. With every option, you must of course remove decorations such as baubles and tinsel.

Artificial Christmas trees

Whether you have moved home and require a new size, want to start displaying a real Christmas tree, or simply have your eye on the latest styles of Christmas trees being stocked by stores like Hayes Garden World, you might be looking to dispose of your existing artificial tree.

Unfortunately, the blend of materials used in the manufacture of these products means that they cannot be recycled in the traditional sense of the word. However, this does not mean you should throw it into your general waste bin!

The first thing you should do is see if you can give your artificial tree a new home. Ask friends and family to see if anyone could put it to good use, see if any local charities would welcome the donation, or give it away through websites such as Freecycle or Gumtree.

Of course, if it is in good condition, you might even be able to sell your artificial tree, perhaps at a car boot sale or on a site such as eBay. You could even try putting out a classified ad in your local newspaper or store.
Crafty types might also be able to repurpose different parts of the tree, perhaps using the top to create a mini tree, which would make a great centrepiece for the Christmas dinner table. There is also the option to use branches to create a wreath or garland.

Recycling Christmas tree decorations

If you’re looking to refresh your Christmas décor, you might also be looking to dispose of your Christmas tree decorations. Again – don’t throw them straight in the bin! There are a number of ways to repurpose tinsel, baubles and fairy lights.

The most obvious option is to use them to decorate other parts of the home. Wrap your tinsel around the banister, frame a mirror with fairy lights, or display baubles in a bowl. You can also use them in craft projects – check out Pinterest for inspiration.

Just as before, see if another household or a charity could put them to good use, giving them away as a set. If the decorations are in poor condition, see if you could make repairs with some glue, a needle and thread, a touch of paint or perhaps a new bulb.

Image courtesy of