Tips for live Christmas tree disposal

Trees can be recycled or reused

LAKE COUNTY — If you put up a live Christmas tree this year and are wondering how to dispose of it once the holidays are over, the National Christmas Tree Association has some tips.

Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for various purposes, the organization said on its website.

Every community is different, but generally some options are available including:

• Curbside pickup for recycling – many communities provide tree collection services during regular pickup schedules following Christmas. There are often requirements for size, removing ornaments, and proper placement of tree. Check with your local officials for information on tree collection.

• Drop off recycling – most counties have free drop-off locations for recycling of trees. Usually you can take up to two trees at no charge. Check with the local recycling center for details.

• Tree mulching programs – tree mulching is a fast growing trend. Providers will chip and shred the trees and make the mulch available for use in gardens and flowerbeds. Check with the local department of public works for information on mulching programs.

• Nonprofit pickup – some nonprofit organizations, such as the local boy scout troop, will offer tree pickup for a nominal fee.

• Yard waste – cut the tree into pieces that fit loosely in the yard waste container. Check with your refuse provider before putting the tree waste out for pick up.

Other recycling options include:

• Soil erosion barriers – some communities use trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization. Check with local authorities to see if this option is available.

• Fish feeders – when sunk into a private pond, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.

• Bird feeders – place the tree in a garden or backyard as a sanctuary for birds and other wild animals. Adding orange slices or strung popcorn will attract birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. Be sure all decorations, hooks and garland are removed.

• Paths for hiking trails – some communities use shredded trees as a renewable and natural material that fits both the needs of the environment and the hiker. Check with local parks department to see if they have a program for donating trees.

For more information on reusing or recycling trees, visit realchristmastrees.org.