Yesterday was A DAY! If you recall, I wrote a post on proper Christmas Tree Recycling by my garbage and recycling service, Waste Management Company. By noon I had received 250 + emails, countless phone calls, and comments on my Facebook page from my Mayor and people from countries all over the world. By afternoon City Hall was phoning me and Treehugger.com picked up the story nationally. Treehugger.com asked the question, “Are your Christmas Trees REALLY being recycled?”
First off, let us address Christmas tree recycling itself. Here are some handy-dandy ideas to get you started –
HOW TO RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
- Community Composting Programs– Contact your city to see if your trash company has a Christmas Tree recycling program. If your city does not have a program, speak with your city officials to see how you might make that program happen.
- Mulch– Chop your own tree into mulch using a wood chipper, let the chips set out and decompose over winter, then use it as mulch in the spring.
- Bird Sanctuary– Remove all the decorations from the tree and set it out in your back garden with orange slices, popcorn, and peanut butter wreaths attached. It will make a great bird feeder and sanctuary through winter. In the spring break apart as yard waste.
- Soil Erosion– Christmas trees make good soil erosion barriers. Check with your local park district or land management group to see if they will take the tree and use it for their river shoreline stabilization efforts.
- Insulation– Cut the limbs off of your Christmas tree and use them as added winter protection on your garden beds. In the spring, simply slip the limbs into a yard waste container for curbside pick up for your community composting program.
- Get a Live Tree In The Future – At the top of this story you see a photo of a Norfolk Pine tree which was kept indoors for many years. Every year my mother-in-law would weigh the limbs down a bit and decorate it as our family Christmas tree. It stayed indoors as a houseplant year round and was perfect as a holiday decoration. We called it our little Charlie Brown tree.
RESOLUTION OF CHRISTMAS TREE NON-RECYCLING IN WARRENVILLE, ILLINOIS – HOORAY!
It turns out that Tamika, the woman I spoke with at Waste Management Company (WM), inaccurately told me that Warrenville recycled its Christmas trees. You see, across the nation, WM recycles trees for many cities, and I thought my city was one of them because Warrenville is very environmentally progressive compared to other small towns. It is a common practice among hundreds of cities, so Tamika also thought Warrenville recycled its Christmas trees.
Guess what? Warrenville did not have recycling of Christmas trees in the city contract with WM and the trash man was just doing his job. I was shocked.
Once we figured this out I began getting telephone calls with the question, “WHY is our city not recycling Christmas trees?” Good question. It is good for the environment, saves landfill space, and makes sense. Employees at Warrenville’s City Hall were also concerned. There were a lot of discussions. And phone calls. And strong words.
In the end, something miraculous and wonderful happened. Warrenville asked WM if they would collect our city’s Christmas trees over the next few weeks for recycling during WM’s normal Christmas tree pick-up season. Beginning today there will be a special truck sent for Christmas tree recycling and Warrenville has a full-on AWESOME Christmas tree recycling program for the rest of this season. It did not have this yesterday, but it does today.
In the future, Christmas tree recycling will be built into the City of Warrenville’s template contract for all future trash and recycling bidding.
That means that Christmas trees in our community will be recycled forever from now on.
Thank you to all of the hundreds of people that contacted me yesterday. It was more than I ever expected. Most of the emails, comments, and calls were supportive because this is a subject that touches so many people’s hearts. To those of you who want to learn more about recycling Christmas trees in your community, please start with the above list and feel free to contact me – I am happy to help you with Christmas tree recycling in your neighborhood.