As January beckons and the festive season draws to a close, children across the land will soon be removing the angel atop their tree, and parcelling up the decorations for next year. One by one, our much-beloved Christmas trees will be left out in the cold to await their fate. This sorry sight of branches protruding from wheelie bins and limp, lacklustre trees on pavements is enough to bring a tear to one’s eye.
Around six million Christmas trees are sold in Britain each year, and the Local Government Association estimates that the cost of landfilling those trees would be approximately £13.9 million. Thankfully, there are plenty of environmentally- and taxpayer-friendly ways to dispose of your tree.
Thanks to local authorities, garden centres and community groups, recycling your Christmas tree couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is take down your decorations, remove the tree from its pot or stand, and leave it on the boundary of your plot. Alternatively, you can drop your tree at a designated communal collection point. These trees are then shredded into chippings which are used locally in parks or woodland areas.
To find out more about Christmas tree recycling in your area, contact your local authority or click here.
If you can’t bear to part with your Christmas tree, why not replant it in your garden? The tree will prove an excellent shelter for birds during the cold winter months, and you can hang fat-balls, apples and nuts to keep the birds well-fed. Only live Christmas trees can be replanted, so make sure the root ball of your tree is still intact before digging a hole.
At the time of purchase, your tree will already be dormant, and it’s important to preserve that state of dormancy to help your tree survive once it’s been replanted. Keeping your tree away from radiators and heat sources is important. While your tree is indoors, water it daily to keep the root ball damp. If you’re worried your tree may have come out of dormancy while indoors, you can place your tree in a cold, sheltered area to allow it to re-enter dormancy.
If the ground is likely to freeze, digging a hole in advance will make things easier. Place your tree in the hole and backfill. Cover the hole with several inches of mulch, and water thoroughly.
If you want to make the most of your tree, there are endless crafty ways to repurpose every part of it. Here are just a few of the creative ways to reuse your tree.
Rustic coasters and decorations
The branches and trunk of your tree can be fashioned into rustic coasters and quirky Christmas decorations, the Thrifty Below blog suggests. For coasters, select a piece of wood with a decent girth to ensure your glass or mug will fit. Use a band saw or hand saw to cut your wood into ½ inch segments. Don’t worry if they aren’t completely straight, as an electric sander will smooth out any rough edges and unevenness. Use a wood stain of your choice and seal to avoid any unsightly rings.
For decorations, saw your wood more thinly and sand down. If you own a Dremel MultiTool, you can cut out festive patterns, and a hole for ribbon.
Pine needle sachet
If you can’t get enough of that pine tree scent, why not harvest the branches of your pine tree and make scented sachets for drawers and wardrobes, asks blog The Cavender Diary. A great way to use up any scraps of leftover fabric, these fragrant sachets are an inexpensive gift idea for next Christmas.
Gather the needles from your tree in a bowl. Sew together two identically-sized swatches of your chosen fabric, leaving a two-inch gap. Next, turn your newly-sewn sachet inside out, fill it with pine needles and stitch up the remaining hole.
DIY pine needle potpourri
Fill a large bowl with dried stems from your pine tree, or fallen needles. Next, add some lemon and orange rind, a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and some nutmeg to the mixture. To store it, place the mixture in jars or wrap in newspaper.