Six unusual ways to recycle your Christmas tree
Everyone is now taking down their Christmas decorations and throwing out the tree. But even what householders do with their evergreens has an effect on global warming, says Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.
He suggests six different and unusual ways to get rid of the festive decorations and help save the planet.
- Recycling: “More than 8 million real Christmas trees are bought each year,” said Ron. “But if a two-metre tree is recycled instead of being put in landfill it will reduce its harmful emissions by 80 per cent.”
The Forestry Commission England says local authorities pay nearly £100 for every 40 trees sent to the skip. Some councils turn the trees into wood chippings or compost for woodland paths and walkways, or in coastal defence schemes. Recycle Now has a list of places to recycle your Christmas tree, or check whether your local council has a special collection this month.
- Re-plant: Buy a tree with roots and put it in your back garden and save yourself money next December. Also why not put the discarded needles on the compost heap as they are acidic and will balance out alkaline items such as wood ash.
- Donate the tree to a zoo. At Dudley Zoo in the Black Country dozens of firs are given to Asiatic lionesses, Carpathian lynx, meerkats, Sumatran tigers, chimps, lar gibbons, Bornean orangutans and macaques to encourage them to forage and play.
Keeper Josh Luxton said: “Asiatic lionesses Kyra and Asha were fascinated by the heady pine scent and bristly texture of the trees.
“Once the firs lose their scent we can spray them with perfume or hide meat in between the branches to give the lionesses different experiences.”
He says any trees not reused with the animals are turned into wood chippings by their gardeners, which are then spread across the site so nothing is wasted.
- Eat it: Amazingly Julia Georgallis, who set up a supper club called How To Eat Your Christmas Tree has come up with a menu based on spruce and pine. Products include pine needle cured salmon, pine nut tea and even ice cream.
But she warns that only spruce and fir trees are edible – yew trees are poisonous and should not be eaten.
- Freshen up your home by using the needles to give the front room a pine fresh smell by mixing it with some pot pourri.
- Make a bird sanctuary by turning your tree into a feeder by sticking it in a heavy pot that won’t blow over and decorating the branches with suitable food items, such as strings of berries, popcorn, and chopped fruit in bags.
“It just shows that with a bit of imagination recycling can be made fun,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
For more information on energy efficiency and green energy idea contact him on 0845 474 6641.