2 years ago
Christmas may be long gone and just a distant memory for most of us, but this cannot be said for all the Christmas trees purchased during December. Even as the seasons change, Glendale is working hard to put all these Christmas trees to good use and even now they are still being processed and recycled, chipped, and reused for other commercially valuable and environmentally friendly purposes.
It is estimated that the cost to councils and the taxpayer of Christmas trees that are not recycled but go into landfill costs around £80 per tonne and then there is the added problem of the number of non-recycled Christmas tress contributing to the growth in fly tipped household waste. There are 8 million Christmas trees sold each year in the UK and these include 3 main varieties. Pine, Spruce and Noble Fir. The Pine takes 5 years to grow, the Spruce 7 years and the Noble Fir 10 years and an acre of Christmas trees provides enough oxygen for 18 people.
This year Glendale worked closely with North Somerset Council and several other local organisations planning and implementing the seasonal Christmas Tree recycling programme. Glendale is North Somerset Council’s parks and street scene contractor, and the team organised the chipping of over 1,500 different trees. These chippings were then used for different grounds maintenance projects and were also used as animal bedding.
Speaking about the project, Cllr Bridget Petty, North Somerset Council’s executive member, said “This project was to support the climate emergency by cutting down on transportation and carbon emissions whilst also providing a valuable resource for regeneration”. A Glendale spokesperson added “We’re delighted to be able to help North Somerset Council and contribute to such an initiative. We look forward to building on this service in the years ahead for more local authorities across the country. “
Once Glendale has chipped the Christmas Trees they are taken to a local depot where they are left to naturally decompose, and this compost is then used as mulch and weed suppressant for gardens, parks, and public areas.
By mixing the Christmas tree chippings with other tree waste, the chippings can be used for more creative applications such as paths and running trails. The chipped trees create a softer running surface and mark out woodland paths. Whole recycled trees have also been used in the bottom of lakes to create a habitat for fish. If you visit the beach near St Annes at Blackpool, you will also see that recycled Christmas trees have been used to protect the sand dunes. The trees have been placed in rows in the sand creating natural windbreaks which holds the sand creating drifts which the natural grasses can then get a foothold in rejuvenating the dunes. The structure of the Christmas trees makes them ideal for this purpose creating natural drifts and you can see trees from previous years still in the ground, contributing to the dune’s protection.
Whilst recycling Christmas Trees is an important environmental consideration, it must be put into context when comparing against artificial trees. Artificial trees damage the environment considerably more, using up natural resources, releasing carbon during the manufacturing process and whilst on average they last for less than six years in your home, they will last for centuries in landfill, so we do not want to think of natural Christmas tree and their disposal as a problem when compared to the alternative.
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