From: Beth Buczynski, Care2
Published December 29, 2013 08:39 AM

Ways to recycle a Christmas tree

For nearly a month (maybe longer if you're one of those day-after-Thanksgiving types), your Christmas tree has formed the centerpiece of holiday celebrations. But now, as the New Year draws near, it's time to think about what to do with it.

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If, like millions of people, you chose a fresh cut tree, it's important to think long and hard about recycling. After all, a carbon-sucking plant gave its life so that you could honor the pagan tradition of decorating a tree. Just tossing it in the garbage is a depressing waste, especially when there are so many other creative options.

Below is a list of the most creative ideas we've ever seen for repurposing Christmas trees. Although most of us will undoubtedly choose number one (the easiest option), the others will warm your heart as well.

1. Water-Saving Mulch — Most city governments have some form of Christmas tree recycling program. Check your city's official website, or call up your waste hauler if you're not sure. Instead of just chucking trees into the dump, they’re transformed into a valuable resource: mulch. It might not be as glamorous as the other ideas on this list, but mulch is used in public gardens and parks across the valley to help conserve soil moisture and keep plants healthy, and there's nothing boring about that.

2. Coastal Erosion Defense System — According to Louisiana news station WLTV, "the state Department of Natural Resources has provided grants to parishes along the coast that use recycled Christmas trees to help protect wetland areas by slowing wave action and erosion" for the past 17 years. Volunteers in boats place collected Christmas trees into pre-constructed shoreline fences where they slow wave action and help reduce erosion.

Photo credit, Roger Greenway, ENN.

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