Recycle your tree and help hospices

Karen Neville

Christmas tree

Squires Garden Centres have advice about what to do with your tree after Christmas

A real Christmas tree is one of the most significant purchases for many families during the festive season, and this is perhaps even more of a reason to make a conscious effort to treat it in a sustainable way after Christmas.

‘Real’ Christmas trees are 100% recyclable; they can be shredded into chippings which are then often used locally in parks or woodland. Local authorities have drop-off points or special collection of ‘real’ trees in early January, so it is worth checking services available – just remember to remove all the decorations first!

In addition to local drop-off points for recycling trees, there is also the National Christmas Tree Collection, the flagship event of JustHelping, the service benefitting local hospices and charities, with service users paying a donation to have their ‘real’ Christmas tree collected – in relevant locations, Squire’s Garden Centres promote the service to customers. In 2022 the charity raised over £975,500 for over 108 charities, hospices and community organisations.

Other creative ways to consider recycling a ‘real’ tree include:

Mulch the needles – remove branches and shake off needles and they will decompose over time

Wood compost – if you can’t get the tree shredded locally with ease, branches can be removed and trunk dismantled into small chunks, quickening up decomposition

Use the tree as a stake – removing needles, the trunk can be used as a useful garden stake for flowers or vegetables

Wildlife habitat – remove tree branches and use to thoughtfully set up a shelter in the corner of the garden for wildlife

Creative coasters – the tree trunk can be cut into small circles for rustic coasters, sanded down and sealed (to avoid sap leaking) and decorated if desired

‘Pot Grown’ Trees (with roots) – are a great, sustainable investment as they can be planted in the garden afterwards for an outdoor tree next year, or nurtured in their pot or re-potted in a bigger one if necessary and brought in again for next Christmas

Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, said: “Real” Christmas trees are a sustainable crop – while growing they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. After Christmas cut trees are totally recyclable and pot grown trees can be enjoyed again next year. Local tree collection services can also be a win-win with trees being sustainably recycled and community charities benefitting too.

“As Christmas draws to a close, we can all think about what we do with our tree, committing to a collection service or re-purposing in the garden to help nature and wildlife – and absolutely avoiding festive waste in landfill.”