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What's the Best Way to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree?

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It's always a little bittersweet when it comes time to take down the Christmas tree as it signals the end of another wonderful holiday season but also marks the fresh start of a new year. There are several important tips for taking care of the tree in a safe and efficient manner. Whether you take the tree down the day after Christmas or wait until the first day of January, keep these tips in mind.

Removing the Tree
First and foremost, never let your tree get too dry before taking it out of your home. As your pine tree dries out, it becomes more and more flammable so it's best to dispose of it sooner rather than later. Remove the tree skirt, unplug and take down the lights, and pack all of your ornaments away safely in a storage box. Dispose of any water that has collected in the bottom of the tree. Before flipping the tree to carry it out, be sure to wrap it in plastic or an old rug or bag. This will prevent pine needs and sap from covering your nice living room floor or hallway.

Cleaning Up the Tree
When placing the tree out on your curb, ensure that it is not in the way of anything or anyone. Arrange pickup with your local waste management service. Back inside, sweep up pine needles left behind. Avoid using a vacuum as the pine needles will only clog it.

Be sure to remove all ornaments before getting rid of your Christmas tree.Be sure to remove all ornaments before getting rid of your Christmas tree.

Recycling Your Tree
In many communities, tree recycling and mulching programs exist and will gladly accept Christmas trees. These programs chip and shred the trees to then be used in mulch. If you choose to cut up a tree on your own it can be placed in your yard waste area. If you're looking to help the environment, Christmas trees can be used as bird sanctuaries and feeders in your back yard or as fish feeders in a pond. Additionally, beach communities along the ocean will accept used Christmas trees to restore sand dunes destroyed by large storms. Reach out to your local environmental agency to find out more.

Creative Ways to Get More Use out of Your Tree
For those who enjoy hiking, there are some regions that will take old Christmas trees and shred them up to be turned into natural, renewable and free walking trails and paths. This is a great way to put your tree to use if you don't want to just throw it away. Turn your pine tree into festive cocktail coasters to be used throughout the year. Chop or saw the trunk of your tree into thick slices that can then be coated in a seal. Remove several branches of pine and add them to a vase of pine cones for a seasonal dining room centerpiece. If you purchased a rooted tree this season, it can be replanted in your yard and added to the landscape. Believe it or not, your tree can also be used as goat feed if you have any of those friendly animals in your area.