Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Giving trees back (to Mother Nature)

Many recycling programs are wrapping up. 12th Night has passed. If you still need to get your farm-grown REAL Christmas tree into the local plant material recycling program, please do so. Remember folks, don't try this with a plastic fake tree. Here's another great example of a well-organized, community-wide tree recycling program implemented by a non-profit group in the Reno/Sparks, NV area. http://ktmb.org/christmas-tree-recycling/
It's been fascinating over the years to see so many creative and innovative and productive uses of the trees after the holidays.  It seems to me that as programs find more ways to recycle trees, there's more interest in recycling in general and I've had more inquiries and interview requests about it.  In case you haven't seen it, we have compiled a brief sampling of some of the programs around North America we have seen over the years.  They can be found on this page of the main site http://realchristmastrees.org/dnn/AllAboutTrees/HowtoRecycle.aspx 
Being an angler, my favorite programs are those where trees are used to create fish habitat, boost the natural eco-system of a body of fresh water, and improve fishing prospects.  I wrote in detail about how the whole process works back in 2009...check it out if interested http://realtreetalk.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-do-trees-help-fish.html 
This past year, I did an interview with NPR's Adam Cole about Christmas tree recycling; it's history and evolution from "a few scattered programs" to something that's now ubiquitous and commonplace.  He very cleverly compiled some Christmas tree recycling stories into a poem.  You can read it or listen to it here http://www.npr.org/2014/01/04/259436930/tree-incarnation-christmas-trees-return-to-nature-a-poem.
Christmas tree recycling -- REAL ONES GROWN ON A FARM -- are a great success story.  It's something to point out the next time someone mistakenly suggests that they made a better environmental choice by buying a plastic, tree-shaped decoration because they can re-use it.  That's very shortsighted, because in a matter of years (maybe 6-9) those non-biodegradable, manufactured products will end up in a landfill.  Forever.  Real Christmas trees on the other hand, as 100% biodegradable plants, will always decompose and return nutrients to the Earth, as all plants do.