Recycling is fun, easy and gives a sense of a job well done at the end of the day. However, one recycling department that is grossly overlooked is the need to recycle Christmas trees. In the old days, we tossed the tree to the curb, and a nameless, faceless person hauled it away. However, in today’s conscientious green society, a discarded Christmas tree can be a treasure to the environment and it takes so little effort to make it all happen.
Though the holidays may be over, the life of your Christmas tree lives on. Tree-cycling has many benefits to include mulching for public reservations, prevention of coastline erosion, and can be a valuable asset for fish habitats. Even the state of Vermont has put the dry and brittle Christmas tree to use with a chipping program designed to create electricity.
If you would like to participate in a Christmas tree recycling program, check with your city’s chamber of commerce for activists to perform the task, or you may wish to take the initiative in your community and start your own Christmas tree recycling program for non-profit and fundraising purposes. Getting started is easier than you think, and you can be up and running by next Christmas season.
Contact your city officials to ascertain where the nearest recycled Christmas tree drop-off sites are located. Most major municipalities have a designated green garbage dump site where great care is given to reusable materials and who pay a fare price for receiving them.
Organize a team to pick up the discarded trees in your neighborhood and designate a driver with a pick-up truck. You will need at least two able-bodied persons per vehicle and they may expect to put in a full day’s work anytime between December 26th and the first week of January.
Send out flyers or door hangers to advertise to your community that you will arrive between a set number of days to clear away their Christmas trees. In addition, you may want to ask the recipients to remove the tinsel and baubles to save your crew time in stripping the trees.
Communicate with your customers that flocked trees can not be accepted and that the trees must not be wrapped in plastic or contain any nails, screws, etc. And, of course, artificial trees are of no ecological value.
Plan your district pick-ups with precision to make the most of the fuel economy. This entails working from a map and keeping the residential sections logged and checked off when the mission is accomplished. The driver of the trucks are usually the best coordinators, however, you may need to set up an office and delegate to a dispatch person.
If you run out of time, personnel and resources to pick up every tree on your neighborhood list, its still a good idea to get the trees recycled anyway. You may mention on your flyers that a tree that is chopped and placed into the natural materials garbage bin will be sent for recycling if the tree is free of decorations and spray-on snow. Although you might not cash in on every Christmas tree, you can make a difference by educating people on what to do. Basic human nature wants to help. Let it.