It’s estimated that around 6-7 million real Christmas trees are purchased each year in Great Britain and many of those end up in landfills after the festive period comes to an end.
Without going into too much detail, this activity from the government costs the tax payer around £100 per 40 trees with each 2-metre tree said to generate around 16 kg of carbon dioxide as it decomposes.
That’s £15,000,000 spent on disposing Christmas trees and 96,000,000 kg of carbon dioxide produced from them decomposing in landfills.
There are a few other eco-friendly ways we can make use of old Christmas trees without sending them off to the landfill.
Local authorities, garden centres and community groups have schemes where they will either collect your Christmas tree or ask for you to drop it off at a collection point for them to recycle.
Christmas trees will then be shredded into chipping which will be used in parks or woodland areas.
Replant Your Christmas Tree
Let your tree live on in your garden and create an excellent shelter for birds and wildlife during the colder months.
It’s likely your tree would have had its roots chopped off and branches may already appear to be dropping a little, all of this is fine as Christmas trees are incredibly resilient and have the ability to recover.
Once you’re finished with your tree indoors, dig a hole outside, stand your tree in it and cover with several inches of mulch, and water thoroughly.
When your tree is settled into it’s new home you can use it to attract birds and wildlife into your garden.
Turn into Mulch
You can make fantastic mulch out of Christmas trees which can be used around the bases of your garden trees or shrubs.
Mulch offers a number of benefits such as treating compaction and prevents soil erosion that often happens after heavy rain.
Mulching the roots of your evergreen trees, conifers, tender perennials and tender shrubs will help prevent the ground from freezing during the winter.
How to make mulch using a shredder/chipper;
- Make sure you wear safety equipment (glasses and gloves)
- Cut the branches off your Christmas tree from the trunk and put them into the shredder 1 by 1 so you don’t jam the mechanism.
- If you have leaves, twigs or other debris laying around the garden, add those to the mix too
- Do not try to shred the trunk as it’s usually too big, you can make use of the trunk of the Christmas tree for other uses we will discuss later.
Create Plant Supports
Instead of turning your Christmas tree into mulch, you could strip it bare and use it to create a sturdy frame for beans, flowers or other crops to grow up.
The unwanted pine needles could be used to add to your existing pile of debris to mulch or to create compost.
Use as Plant Protection
By cutting off the boughs you can lay them over your perennial beds to help protect them from snow and frost.
You can repurpose your tree a number of ways such as creating rustic coasters from the trunk or making pots of potpourri filled with dry stems of your pine tree and adding the rinds from oranges, lemons, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and some nutmeg into your mixture.
Store the mixture in jars or wrap in newspaper.
If you can't make use of any of the methods we've listed, it's best to check on your local councils website to see when they have collection days for old Christmas trees or to find out where your nearest drop off point is.