What Using a Real Christmas Tree Can Teach Your Children About the Environment

After the Holiday

Once the holiday is over, it’s time to take down the ornaments and put the tree away. Artificial trees go back in their boxes and back into the garage or attic, but what do you do with your real tree?

We’ve already discussed your options if you’ve used a potted tree, but what do you do with a cut tree? You’ve got a ton of options here actually:

  • Burn it – set up a bonfire or an outdoor fire. Don’t try to burn it indoors in a chimney or fireplace.
  • Throw it away – Many cities offer tree pick up after the holidays. True, your tree will end up in the landfill, but it will decompose quickly and won’t leave any residual waste.
  • Recycle it – The trunk of a Christmas tree is great hard wood for crafts and projects. Just make sure you dry it out really well before you start carving or you could be left with a sticky sappy mess.
  • Sink It – If you’ve got a backyard pond, sink your tree. It becomes a refuge and source of food for fish and other creatures in the water.
  • Mulch it – Run your tree through a wood chipper and you’ve got a ton of good mulch for the upcoming planting season.

An artificial tree can be a good option for a lot of people – they are flame retardant, and produce no allergens. If you choose an artificial tree, try to get one that will last you awhile to reduce your carbon footprint.

If you have the option, though – go with a real Christmas tree. It’s a great way to teach your kids about how their choices can impact the environment and it’s better for the planet anyway!

Emily is the editor of Conservation Folks and a sustainability and conservation blogger. Follow her on Twitter to see the latest updates.

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