Recycled US Christmas trees: mulch, dunes, habitats
It’s one of America’s great recycling success stories: Every year, hundreds of thousands of discarded Christmas trees are collected and reused.
Many are picked up curbside by local garbage collection services and turned into mulch. But there are other second acts for Christmas trees, too. They’re placed on beaches to shore up dunes and sunk in lakes as fish habitats. They’ve even been milled into lumber for use in building homes.
How many of the 25 million to 30 million fresh Christmas trees sold each year are recycled is difficult to measure because most recycling programs “are implemented on such a local level,” said National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Rick Dungey. The good news, though, is that tree-recycling efforts are now “ubiquitous” and recycling your tree is “easier than ever.”
This will be the 27th year for Christmas tree recycling in San Francisco, where nearly 600 tons of trees are fed into a giant wood-chipper outside City Hall each year and turned to mulch. New York City’s Department of Sanitation collects about 150,000 trees each year and mulches them in a joint program with the Parks Department. The mulch is used in parks, playing fields and community gardens. Residents lucky enough to have their own urban backyards can take home a bag at “Mulchfest” events held around the city.
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