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The festivities may be coming to an end, but it doesn’t mean we have to completely say goodbye to our Christmas trees. For those of us who opted for real trees, there are plenty of clever, eco-friendly ways to repurpose them.
According to eye-opening statistics, six million Christmas trees are discarded every year, with 250 tonnes of trees thrown away after the holiday season. The good news is that you don't have to throw your tree in the landfill as soon as January rolls around — there are many creative alternatives to make them go further.
Take a look at what you can do with Christmas tree after the festive season...
1. Use the branches to make a bird feeder in your garden
Cut off the branches, cover them in butter or margarine and then roll them in bird seeds. Grab some brown string and hang the branch in your garden. It won’t be long before you see plenty of tweeting birds stopping by for a tasty treat.
2. Cut the trunk into small round pieces to use in your garden
Why not upgrade your garden space with a creative touch and give your Christmas tree trunks a new purpose? Simply cut the trunks into small circles and use them as an edge around your garden. If you’re feeling a bit more creative, you can even sand down the trunks into small circles, cover them with polish and turn them cleverly into coasters.
3. Use the pine needles to make fragrant sachets
Cling onto the scent of Christmas for that little bit longer by popping the pine needles into small fabric bags. You can make these easily yourself by reusing any leftover fabrics at home and stitching some velvet ribbon around the top to make a little tie. Once you’ve done that, simply pop in the pine needles and tighten shut. We recommend placing them at the back of your wardrobe or drawers for a fresh, winter scent. Brilliant to gift to friends, too.
4. Use the branches to make a wreath
Wreaths can be beautifully hung on your front door all round, not simply just at Christmas. Making your branches into a wreath is a wonderful way to repurpose your tree — and get creative in January. You’ll need binding wire, scissors, additional flowers (if you’d like to put them on) and craft foam, to make the wreath last longer.
5. Donate your Christmas tree
Many local Boy Scouts collect real Christmas trees as part of fundraising projects. Why not donate yours to help those who are giving them a second chance. "Many councils offer special Christmas treecycling services and so I’d urge local people to find out what schemes are running in their area," Marcus Jones, Local Government Minister explains, urging people to not throw their trees away. MORE INFO
6. Re-plant it in the garden
One of the easiest things for us to do — given we have the garden space — is to replant our trees outside. Nurture it well and you might just be able to bring it back indoors for Christmas next year. With millions of trees thrown away at the end of each festive season, replanting them is something great you can do to help the environment at this time of year.
7. Use it as compost
Put your Christmas tree needles to good use by adding them to your compost heap. Make sure to only use a small amount, as rubbery needles can take a long time to break down. As well as the needles, you can also put the whole Christmas tree on the compost, as long as you cut it down into small pieces first.
8. Use it as an animal habitat
A British winter can be tough on animals. If you're not sure what to do with your real Christmas tree after the festivities, consider placing it in a sheltered spot in the garden for creatures to nestle in. Wild animals have many different ways to survive plummeting temperatures, but your old tree can help provide additional warmth.
You can also...
• Chop it up to use for firewood
• Add a few pine needles to your favourite warming winter dishes
It's worth find out about local recycling projects too. The National Trust is asking visitors to put their used trees to good use again this year by donating them to protect Formby's sand dunes from erosion. Over the past decade National Trust staff and hundreds of volunteers have dug in over 15,000 recycled Christmas trees to create fences there.
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