Time is fast approaching when we must bid farewell to our beautiful Christmas trees. Every year, it is estimated that nearly 6 million Christmas trees are discarded. If you love to have a real tree in your home at Christmas time, but you’re not sure how to recycle it, then just read on to learn six eco-friendly ways you can dispose of your spruce in the New Year.
> Replant it. To ensure the best chances of the tree surviving until next Christmas, keep the roots intact and each Christmas, carry the tree, pot ‘n all, into your home.
> Rent a tree! This is a great alternative if you don’t have the space in your garden or aren’t especially green-fingered and would prefer someone else to care for it the other 48 weeks of the year! Often families have the same tree year on year.
> Turn it into mulch. Many charities and local city councils across the UK accept old Christmas trees as part of tree-recycling schemes. They are used for mulch and chippings year round for parks and community spaces. If you’re a keen gardener some local garden centres will chip your tree and you can keep the mulch for your own garden.
> Convert your tree into a home for the nature in your garden.
– Your old tree can be securely propped up in your own garden and strewn with all sorts of tasty treats for a variety of hungry little garden birds. Try suet, orange slices and peanut butter and you should find you’re attracting sparrows, finches, tits and more! The tree will also act as shelter from predators and during spells of harsh weather. If you’re strategic about the placing of the tree, you can bird watch from the comfort of your armchair!
– To encourage pollinators in your garden drill deep holes into the bark ensuring it has a smooth finish. Again, your tree will make ideal shelter for solitary bees.
– If you have a pond in your back garden sink the tree, or at least chunks of the tree to provide shelter for fish from predators.
> Get creative! Use the branches that are still fresh and turn them into centre pieces, wrap them around the bottom of candles or use the branches as wintery décor for your house as it will no doubt be feeling a little bare once the tree has gone. Then, with a saw, chop the trunk of the tree into discs and use as coasters or decorate them ready for next year’s tree decorations.
> Use your tree as firewood. Make sure the wood has seasoned (dried out) properly first as it is a very sappy wood, and will need to be stored in a cool dry place for a few months. Pinewood is generally not recommended for indoor use, as creosote can build up in chimneys and cause very dangerous chimney fires. Plus pinewood is prone to popping and crackling. The best use is outdoor bonfires as they burn well and the piney aroma that’s released when the logs are burning is amazing!
> And finally…once you have chosen one of the above options, don’t forget that trees are not just for Christmas! For every £3 donation, 10 trees will be planted in the gardens of families in Uganda, providing them with fruit, shelter and protection from landslides. Find out more and donate here: sizeofwales.org.uk/treeforchristmas