While all good things must come to an end, the deflating sight of Christmas trees past their prime laying at the side of the road is best avoided if you want to beat the January blues. This is particularly true when you realise that eight million of them are thrown out in the UK each year when they could be recycled; weighing around 120,000 tonnes, they then end up in landfill.
Here are some creative and responsible ways to breathe new life into your yuletide spruce:
1 Donate it to London Zoo
A favourite provider of firs to the Royal Family, Pines and Needles will collect your tree from any London address once it has served its purpose (any time up until mid-January) and take it away to be chipped. This is then taken to London Zoo, where it is used to make the bedding in the rhino and porcupine enclosures.
2 Book in with a charitable tree-cycling service
Many charities offer to collect your tree and transform it into biofuel for a small donation. For example, Compton Care in Wolverhampton will pick up your spruce for £10; St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol will be collecting trees from 8 to 10 January; and Cambridge’s Arthur Rank Hospice Charity is running a recycling service from 6 to 9 January. Check in with your local not-for-profit organisations to find those running similar initiatives.
3 Repurpose it in your garden
Those fortunate enough to have their very own green space have an abundance of options when it comes to giving their Christmas Tree a second life. Strip the trunk of its branches and use it as a frame for fragrant climbing plants such as honeysuckle and jasmine to thrive come summertime. Then, collect the twigs in bundles and hang them up in a bush as a refuge for insects.
4 Check if your local council offers collection
Recycling services vary from area to area, but most councils offer to pick up your tree across an allocated period of time – or will provide a drop-off point to sustainably bid farewell to your fir-tree. Visit your council website for more information; and for London addresses, enter your postcode on www.londonrecycles.co.uk.
5 Turn it into mulch or compost
Throughout January, many garden centres will take your unwanted tree off your hands so they can turn it into mulch for their plants – or you can take the chips away with you for your own garden. Equally, a Christmas tree makes an excellent base for a compost heap, should you be so inclined; just chop it down into smaller pieces and create a mulch out of the needles, then add leaves, and fruit and vegetable scraps to start it off. A solid reason to place composting at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions.
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