- Christmas trees make high-quality mulch and compost material.
- Different regions may have different uses for Christmas trees after the holidays.
- Most municipalities offer Christmas tree recycling programs.
The tree stands tall in the living room. He faithfully serves his new home, sheltering in the neatly wrapped boxes that line its grounds. She wears shiny jewelry and bright lights. It’s picture-worthy. This is this year’s Christmas tree.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, approximately 30 million Christmas trees are sold each year.
But what happens to them when the holiday is over? There is no North Pole where these trees will return like Santa Claus and his reindeer.
What about trees that never become houses?
It turns out that the Christmas tree bears as much as during the holiday season.
What happens to unsold Christmas trees?
Not every fir makes a cozy house. Some never leave the farm or parking lot. But they all usually share the same fate.
“The biggest end point for unused Christmas trees is … mulching,” said Richard Bates, a professor of horticulture who teaches Christmas tree management at Pennsylvania State University.
“There are usually thousands of designated programs run by municipalities or community groups that collect them and then chip them, compost them, and sometimes even resell that end-use product,” Bates told USA TODAY.
What should I do for Christmas?
Experts recommend finding one of these programs in your area and recycling your Christmas tree after the holidays. Jill Sidebottom, spokeswoman for the National Christmas Tree Association, said most cities and counties offer out-of-town pickup or provide Christmas tree drop-off locations.
Ed Baskin, who helps run the program, says the city of San Diego receives 70,000 Christmas trees from residents in the north through the recycling program.
According to Baskin, the trees produce high-quality wood chips and mulch. In San Diego, the city uses mulch and compost material produced from trees in its parks and offers this product to residents for free.
Trees find new purposes in the next life depending on where they stand. Some areas collect trees to prevent beach erosion, for example.
Bates said some municipalities put trees in their ponds because they provide a great habitat for small fish.
Plastic tree:Here’s how to store your fake Christmas tree according to the pros
When should I take down the Christmas tree?
There is no clear answer to this question.
Most people take down their tree after the New Year. Some Christmas traditions call for the tree to be kept up at least until Epiphany on Jan. 6, when the three kings arrive in Jerusalem, Sidebottom said.
Christmas movies for kids:Access 100+ family movies to stream this holiday season
To be safe, it’s best to water your tree throughout its life cycle to keep it green and clean. A dead tree in the house creates a fire hazard. According to Baskin, mulching dry trees is more difficult. Be sure to remove any ornaments and decorations before reworking your tree.