A Sustainable End to the Festive Season

 

xmas treesAs the New Year begins with another cold, long January could there be anything more disheartening to mark the end of the festive season than throwing out the beloved Christmas tree?

 

The more green fingered types amongst us may boldly attempt to replant theirs, but for the majority of UK households the decorations are packed away, the fairy lights turned off and the tree now sits outside the front door awaiting its fate, a shadow of its former festive glory…

 

This January however, things are looking up for the Christmas tree! Recycling projects are bigger than ever this year and across the country thousands of trees are being put to use once their tinsel wearing days are done.

 

In London, Mayor Boris Johnson has encouraged residents to ‘Treecycle’ the estimated one million Christmas trees of the capital in a bid to save local authorities money.

 

The Local Government Association (LGA) estimates a cost to the taxpayer of nearly £100 for every 40 trees sent to landfill. But alternative schemes to costly and wasteful incineration or landfill see trees collected, or left at recycling sites to then be made in to woodchip or soil conditioner.

 

These recycling projects are certainly proving popular, however, it’s the more creative Christmas tree recycling ideas that have captured the Media’s attention and encouraged the nation to put their tree to good use this January.

 

In Cumbria & Cheshire, the Environment Agency are trialling an innovative flood risk solution by placing Christmas trees along river banks to help reduce erosion. Large spruce logs are secured at the base of the eroding river banks for stability, with discarded Christmas trees then attached to act as a filter catching silt from the water.  This method also protects wildlife by preventing fish eggs from being smothered in sediment that would prevent them from hatching.

Environment-Agency-Christmas-Tree-river-protection-575

 

Lion xmas tree

In Cambridgeshire, unwanted Christmas trees have been donated to a local zoo where they are being used as a method of environmental enrichment for the resident Lions. Described as the equivalent to ‘catnip’ for the big cats, the trees were certainly proving to be a welcomed belated Christmas gift!

The zoo has also used the donated Christmas trees for fuel in the bio-burners, and even replanted some in the snowy owl enclosure.

 

 

These practical & innovative recycling projects are happening all over the UK. We recommend you contact your local council for information about ‘Treecycling’ in your area and a sustainable start to the New Year!