What Happens to Christmas Trees After the Holidays
BY SARA YOUNG DEC. 18 2014
Before the Thanksgiving turkey is even digested, thoughts quickly shift from Thanksgiving to Christmas. A tradition for many families is purchasing and decorating a live Christmas tree. However, once the holiday is over and it's time to pack up all the decorations, what happens to the 31 million trees that are hauled out to the curb?
Countless hours are spent decorating and taking care of the tree, but as soon as December 26 rolls around, the once beautiful focal point becomes a needle-dropping nuisance. The tree is stripped of its lights and ornaments and tossed to the curb.
Some families purchase Christmas trees as early as mid-November, while others purchase a tree just days before Christmas.
“I get [a Christmas tree] about a week before Christmas,” senior Jacob Willis said.
Even after Christmas trees have served their decorative purpose, they can still be useful in several different ways.
According to The Washington Times, most trees are grounded up into mulch. For towns like Burlington, Vermont, this process is crucial in the running of the community. Mulch is used to help power the city of 41,000 people.
Some trees are donated to local zoos. The trees are fed to animals like zebras and giraffes. Otters also take advantage of the trees by using the branches as hiding places.
Other trees are tossed into freshwater bodies of water. The trees are attached with chains and cement to sink to the bottom of ponds and lakes. They are used as "underwater fences" to help algae growth.
According to Scotts Miracle-Gro, places like Louisiana have the excess trees placed along streams and lake shores to protect the wetlands from salt-water intrusion.
As stated by the Topsail Beach News, discarded Christmas trees are also used along the beach at Topsail Beach, NC. The trees are placed in a linear fashion to create sand dunes. The needles of the trees collect sand, and pretty soon the trees are completely covered in sand. This process creates more sturdy and protective sand dunes.
Local Christmas tree sellers and grocery stores are often stuck with a lot of leftover trees. Those who sell Christmas trees are very conscious about how to dispose of the unsold trees. Sellers typically give the trees to people in need or recycle them.
Sophomore Noor Siddiqi believes the reusing of the Christmas trees is a good idea.
“I think it’s great people buy Christmas trees to celebrate the holiday,” Siddiqi said. “It’s nice they use [the trees] as other resources once they are done using them too.”
Although it may seem wasteful to chop down a beautiful tree, use it for a few short weeks and throw it away, Christmas trees actually have many uses after they have served their seasonal purpose.