Discarded Christmas trees: a seasonal dilemma

Alycia Douglass
Discarded Christmas trees: a seasonal dilemma

CORNWALL, Ontario – The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy some festive merriment under a lavishly decorated Christmas tree. But what happens to the tree once Saint Nick returns to the North Pole and the stockings have been put away for the year?

Whether you’ve chosen a Scotch Pine, Balsam Fir, or White Spruce, there are several options for January disposal.

For many of us, the most apparent and available choice is to put the tree out to the road to be collected by the city and later turned into mulch or compost. This year’s collection period will run from Monday, January 9, 2017 to Friday, January 13, 2017.

Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) Fish & Wildlife Biologist, Brendan Jacobs says that there are several other options for those looking to make a greater environmental impact.

“There’s a lot that people can do on their own,” said Jacobs. “Conservation authorities are always there to offer guidance.”

Last year, the RRCA invited individuals to donate their trees to be placed along shorelines to reduce erosion. Roughly 100 trees were collected and used for the venture.

“It breaks up the wave action and slows down erosion,” said Jacobs. “It also allows a natural buffer to grow up, providing a habitat for wildlife.”

For households with more than one tree, Jacobs suggests stringing trees together with an anchor and placing them on frozen bodies of water. However, Jacobs says that should they choose to go this route, individuals should be mindful of the water depth.

“When the ice melts, they will stick to the bottom and provide cover for wildlife,” said Jacobs. “It makes for a great fishing spot for children once the warmer weather arrives.”

Another option is to pile branches in rough piles, which provide warmth and shelter for wildlife.

While RRCA does not currently have any projects which utilize discarded Christmas trees, Jacobs encourages people to reach out to other organizations who could use them.

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