I’ve been asked by a few people what to do with their Christmas trees. The Council’s official policy is that they should be taken to your nearest household waste recycling site.
However you can call 03000 260 000 and the council will collect your tree for free but call immediately to book it it.
If you have a garden waste bin you can cut off the branches and put them in there and wait for the spring collections, but you’ll still need to take the stem to the tip unless you fancy sawing it up and adding it to the bin. This isn’t much use if you are not fit enough or able to do this – although you may have a nice neighbour who can help.
I’ve been trawling the internet and considering all options.
Some people with bigger gardens could even plant it in a corner and let something grow up it – although I did this once and ended up with a bees nest in it so be careful! it also doesn’t look too nice to start with.
This year I have chopped off the branches and put it through a garden chipper. I also did the same for the tree at All Saint’s Church yesterday which got be thinking about this post – but as that tree was 20 ft high, it was quite a task!
Chippings from fir trees are great around acid loving plants and keep down weeds, so if you have blueberries, raspberries, azalias, camelias, rhodedendrons or hydrangeas that’s another possibility – and my choice for this year.
One website suggests sawing the trunk into half inch blocks and using them as coasters. That seems like a lot of coasters!
Some areas use old Christmas trees to help protect sand dunes from erosion but its a bit of a waste of resources driving out with trees to the coast assuming there is somewhere doing this in our area.
Another option is to give the branch-less trunk to a neighbour with a wood burning stove or open fire – although if its not a modern Defra approved one it will probably chuck out pollution in the local area.
The Council’s website suggests getting an artificial tree in future but that is NOT environmentally friendly, especially given they are nearly all made from plastic.
Acording to the Carbon Trust a 2m real tree, which is subsequently chipped or burnt has a CO2 footprint of 3.5kg, if sent to landfill this would have been 16kg – but our general waste is now incinerated so you could chop it up and put it in the general waste bin!
However a plastic tree has a carbon footprint of over 40kg – possibly more as most are transported from China, so you’d need to keep your artificial tree for 12 years or more for it to be less damaging to the environment than a real one – and whilst some people swear by them, I love the smell of a pine tree and the annual trip to find the “best looking” tree.
I’ll stick with a real one as for each one cut down they say 3 are planted and i can chip mine up. However all this has got me to thinking that the Council needs to better advertise their free collection scheme and I have spoken to our head of service today.
Let me know if you have any other ideas.