Christmas tree collection: How to recycle your Christmas tree

Christmas tree collection: How to recycle your Christmas tree


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Christmas day is over, most of the leftovers have been demolished and the recycling bin is full of discarded wrapping paper. Next on the list, it’s time to take down the decorations and get rid of your Christmas tree. But how do you recycle your Christmas tree and avoid it ending up in landfill? And can you plant a Christmas tree?

Every year, Britain buys between six and eight million Christmas trees, according to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

A Christmas tree is a must-have for many of us, but once Christmas day has passed it’s time to work out how to get rid of your tree responsibly.

According to tradition, you should take your Christmas tree and decorations down before the day of Epiphany, January 6.

For those with an artificial tree, you can simply pack it away again and store it until next Christmas.

If you want to get rid of your artificial tree and replace it with a different kind of tree next year, consider donating your old one to charity or listing it on eBay or Facebook marketplace so another family can enjoy it.

How to get rid of a real Christmas tree

A real Christmas tree is recyclable: it can be broken down into wood chippings or mulch and used in the garden.

There’s no sight more depressing than an abandoned and browning Christmas tree left on the pavement, and it only takes minutes to sort out a collection or drop-off for your once beloved Christmas tree.

Many councils around the UK offer a Christmas tree collection service, just check your local council’s website for details.

Some councils will collect your tree from your home with your garden waste as usual, whereas others may choose a local collection point where you can leave your tree to be collected and recycled.

Alternatively, you can look for a ‘treecycling’ scheme run by a local charity.

Many charities offer their own service, including 63 hospices whose collection postcodes can be found here.

The charity only asks for a donation in return for picking up your tree.

Before you hand your tree over to be recycled, you can save some of it to be reused in your garden.

The needles of your Christmas tree can be added to your compost heap to become mulch for your garden.

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This will also make your tree easier to transport to the local collection point, without leaving needles all over the backseat of your car.

It’s likely your needles will be beginning to drop all over your living room floor already, but giving the branches a good shake or breaking them off the trunk of the tree can help you get the last needles.

How to plant your Christmas tree in the garden

If you chose a potted Christmas tree, there shouldn’t be any real need to recycle it just because Christmas is over for another year.

You can replant the tree in your garden, or in another pot.

If you opt to re-pot the Christmas tree, you could even bring it back into your home next Christmas.

To check whether your tree needs repotting, lift the roots out of the pot and check to see if they’re becoming rootbound: growing on top of each other into a thick mass in the shape of their pot.

If the tree is rootbound, it’s time to repot it in a larger pot.

Make sure your tree is kept well-watered, especially when the weather heats up.

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