Recycling Christmas tree provides mulch for Gillette community garden

Recycling Christmas trees has several benefits, and in Gillette it helps provide mulch for the community garden. (Gillette's North Community Garden photo)

Now that the time has come to take down the Christmas tree, families have two choices: Either put the fake one back in the box or dispose of the real one.

There are limited options on where or how to toss out a real tree, but one route is best for the environment and helps the city – recycle. Recycling has multiple benefits for the community and that is why city officials urge everyone to go green and recycle this year.

The City Forestry division is again partnering with Campbell County Master Gardeners and Gillette College to provide a way for citizens to dispose of and recycle their Christmas trees. It’s simple and rewarding – remove all decorations and simply take it to the designated and marked drop-off location at the College Tech Center located at 3251 4-J Road. The site is open now through Monday, January 31.

In return, it saves space at the landfill and the trees are put to good use as they are chipped and turned into mulch that is used for the community garden.

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Recycled trees have multiple uses and communities use them in different ways.. Some are turned into mulch like in Gillette and used for community gardens. Other cities use the mulch for playgrounds, parks and homes and some add them to lakes and used as habitats for fish and underwater life. Additionally, recycling eliminates the costly process of adding additional debris to landfills.

According to

  • There are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year.
  • There are close to 350 million real Christmas trees currently growing on Christmas Tree farms in the U.S. alone, all planted by farmers.
  • North American real Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states and Canada.
  • Eighty percent of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured in China, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
  • Real trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.
  • There are more than 4,000 local Christmas tree recycling programs throughout the United States.
  • For every real Christmas tree harvested, 1 to 3 seedlings are planted the following spring.
  • There are about 350,000 acres in production for growing Christmas trees in the U.S.; much of it preserving green space.
  • There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.
  • It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of typical height (6 – 7 feet) or as little as 4 years, but the average growing time is 7 years.
  • The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington.