Now that Christmas has come and gone, Torontonians are packing away their festive holiday decorations and removing the ornaments from their Christmas trees.
And if you’re wondering what the most environmentally friendly way to get get rid of your Christmas tree is, it really depends if it’s real or fake.
If it’s fake, you can easily box it up and put it away for next year, but if it’s real, the City of Toronto makes it easy for residents to dispose of their Christmas trees.
According to the city, there are specific collection days for natural Christmas trees in January. Residents can refer to their collection calendar for dates.
However, if you still have a Christmas tree for disposal after the scheduled collection day, the city asks that you keep your tree around until yard waste collection begins in the spring.
Additionally, trees can be dropped off at a City Transfer Station that accepts yard waste.
The city says Christmas trees are collected in separate trucks so that they can be processed and composted. These trees are then taken to transfer stations, chipped, and used internally by city divisions.
Before you place your tree at the curb for pickup, you must make sure it’s free from the following:
- Tree bags
- Tree skirts
Trees should also be clear of snow and ice and be easily accessible for collection.
However, Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario say there are still a number of other environmentally friendly ways to recycle your tree. This includes:
- Placing the tree in the garden or backyard to provide winter shelter for small birds.
- A Christmas tree is biodegradable. Its branches and needles make a good mulch in the garden, especially for plants like rhododendrons which like acid soil.
- Fir tree foliage can be stripped from the branches and snipped into small pieces for stuffing into aromatic fir needle pillows for the sofa or bedroom.
- Large quantities of used trees can be used as effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at beaches.
- Old Christmas trees stacked together in a forest can provide shelter for rabbits and other small animals.
- Sunk into fish ponds, Christmas trees can make refuge and feeding areas for fish and other animals.
- Woodworking hobbyists can make a multitude of items from the trunk of a used Christmas tree including buttons, gavels, and candle-holders.