Over 27 million real Christmas trees were bought in the US this year And when the holidays are over, weve got to do something with them, But trees, they’re, big and they’re heavy. Imagine 27 million of these. Not only that trees are biodegradable, so they should be ending up in nature, not a landfill.
Im Lucy Biggers – and this is One Small Step: Are they ending up in the dump Or do they somehow get recycled Here? In New York City at least some trees have been getting recycled for over 20 years.
This is our 22nd annual citywide mulchfest, where we celebrate the season by inviting people to come out to their local parks and chip their christmas tree. The trees are collected during the first two weeks of January when the city sets up over 70 christmas tree drop-off locations. It culminates in a weekend of chipping where people can bring home their own mulch or christmas tree potpourri.
In 2017, NYCs Mulchfest turned 26,000 Christmas trees into mulch. Well, it turns out theyre getting recycled too.
For a decade the Department of Sanitation has run a curbside pick-up program that recycles around 240,000 trees each year. You just put your tree out on the street during the first two weeks of January. They send out special collection trucks just for the trees and they bring them to locations where they have contractors, chip them up and turn them into mulch.
Its important to note ornaments tree stands and lights must be removed, or else the trees will get picked up with the trash. So if I am walking around – and I see mulch in the parks in the summer, is it likely that’s old Christmas trees?
Absolutely a lot of it came from the trees that people are bringing to us today and tomorrow and its something that will be valuable year round.
And thats, because recycling trees just makes sense whether its organics, whether its packing material anything it costs a lot of money.
And by diverting it from the waste stream, finding a productive use for it in the city saves money and really helps the park. New York City spends $ 330 million dollars carting our trash to landfill each year Because were on a tiny island. Our trash travels as far as before its in the landfill And were producing trash on a huge scale: 8 million residents produce 12,000 tons of trash every day, Thats a lot of trains and trucks just carrying garbage
By turning trees into mulch were cutting down on how much stuff gets shipped to the dump.
Also mulch is useful and gives trees a second life.
The mulch is an important element of building a healthy park. It does a number of wonderful things. It moderates the soil temperature, so it doesn’t get too cold. It prevents weeds from growing.
It retains moisture its great for the plants Sending your tree through the wood chipper isnt. The only way to recycle it. Some cities sink Christmas trees into ponds, because the branches make a great habitat for small fish. Coastal towns also give trees a second life by using them to reinforce beaches that have eroded
Of the millions of trees, we use each year its hard to tell what percentage get recycled And Im sure. There are still many that, unfortunately end up at the dump, But its great to see that as an individual.
What you choose to do with your tree not only prevents waste but also helps your environment by creating a valuable resource for plants and animals.
And its pretty cool to know that the next time you see a tree on the curb you can imagine it as mulch feeding next seasons plants Instead of post-holiday waste.
And to recycle your tree contact your town or check online to find out your town’s policy, Make sure you’re removing all those ornaments and those lights. This was One Small Step. I’M Lucy Biggers Share this.
If you enjoyed it and we’ll see you next time,