05/01/2019 06:00 GMT | Updated 05/01/2019 06:00 GMT

How To Recycle Your Christmas Tree (And Do Good At The Same Time)

Be nice to your 🎄 and the 🌏

The saddest time of the year is here: it’s time to throw out your Christmas tree and look longingly at the empty space in your living room where it once stood.

Rather than casting yours out onto the street where it will remain until someone (usually the local authorities) take it away, why not ‘treecycle’ and give back at the same time?

There are a number of tree recycling schemes up and down the country to help you feel better about the future of your discarded tree – just make sure you’ve removed all of the lights, tinsel and baubles before you dispose of it. 

[Read more: Britain is basically a Christmas tree graveyard and it’s the saddest sight]

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If You Want To Give To Charity

A lot of charities offer collections in exchange for monetary donations. JustHelping is a UK charity doing just that. It works with businesses and volunteers to collect and recycle real Christmas trees and raise money for hospices and other local charities – so far £240,000 has been raised.

Some charities and hospices collecting donations include:

:: Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice (specific postcodes in West Yorkshire)

:: The Hospice of St Francis (Harpenden, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead)

:: Dorothy House Hospice Care (specific postcodes near Bath)

:: Caudwell Children (specific postcodes in Stoke-on-Trent)

:: Garden House Hospice Care (Letchworth, Hitchin, Royston, Baldock, Stevenage and surrounding villages)

If You Love Animals

A zoo in Norfolk has asked people to consider donating their old Christmas trees to the animals. Mike Woolham from Banham Zoo said the trees offer “great enrichment” for them.

“It’s a new and novel item that only comes once a year,” he told Heart FM. “Camels and the pygmy goats will certainly chew on the branches. The big cats really love to play with them. Primates will use them as well.”

Once the animals have finished mauling and chomping on them, the trees are wood chipped and used as bedding, so nothing goes to waste.

Your local zoo might also take in used trees – give them a call to see if they do.

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If You Have An Open Fire (Or Fire Bowl)

Why not cut up your tree and use it on a bonfire, fire bowl or in your fireplace? It’s better for the environment to burn your Christmas tree than it is to throw it in the bin, according to gov.uk.

A real Christmas tree that ends up in landfill decomposes and produces methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, according to The Carbon Trust. Burning a Christmas tree just releases the carbon dioxide it stored when it was growing.

If You Have Space In The Garden

Can’t bear to part with your tree? Replant it in the garden. 

Most trees have been cut for weeks or months, which means you can’t replant them (they’ll just die). However, if you bought one with roots you can certainly plant it – just make sure it’s got plenty of space to grow. 

If You Can’t Be Bothered

A lot of councils offer Christmas treecycling services – check your local council’s website to find out if they do. Some people are able to put their trees in with their garden waste collection, meaning minimum effort all round.

Other Ways To Recycle

If you have a car and live near a recycling centre, drop your tree off there where it can be chipped and reused on paths or turned into soil. 

If you no longer want your artificial tree, give it to a charity shop instead of binning it.