Some end up in landfill, others become compost and food for animals.

Christmas is over and the decorations are down, leaving many Nottingham residents wondering what to do with their real trees.

As the festive season draws to a close it is time to dispose of your real Christmas tree. But it is important to get rid of them correctly to avoid starting the year with a fine from your local authority.

Nottingham City Council offer a tree recycling and collection service. The tree must not be artificial and needs to be clear of all decorations and lights.

“the amount of Christmas trees you see just dumped on the side of the road is just sacrilege really”

Dave Kemp, the real christmas tree

A spokesperson for the British Christmas Tree Growers Association said “Christmas trees are fully sustainable and unlike artificial trees, a real tree is 100% recyclable.”

Recycled Christmas trees used as Mulch.

They also mention that a lot of companies now offer “Christmas tree recycling services where your used Christmas tree can be returned to the farm. Your tree can then be chipped and returned to the fields where it grew. We recommend that trees are disposed of in this way.”

“If you’ve got a pot grown Christmas tree, they can be planted out or grown on in their pot to bring inside again next Christmas.”

The Real Christmas tree company in Bestwood offer an at home pickup service costing £10 with all proceeds used to plant more trees.

Dave Kemp, who runs the business, says there are many ways they try to recycle their trees, including food for some animals.

He says that one of the first things they do when receiving the trees is “turn them into bark” but they also “get a lot of those trees and donate them to Llama farms so the llamas can eat the Christmas tree needles.”

“I think everyone should recycle their Christmas tree after Christmas, there’s services the council offer which are free, there’s services we offer, animals eat them. But the amount of Christmas trees you see just dumped on the side of the road is just sacrilege really.”

Another business offering collection in the new year is The Christmas Tree Company in Beeston.

The Owner, Fraser Abbott says that if you have a cut tree then there’s no reason not to recycle, especially if you’re into gardening as it can be used in allotments and “creates good compost with nutritional value”.


Christmas Tree Recycling facts:

  • 160,000 tonnes of trees are dumped each January in the UK.
  • Christmas trees left to rot in landfill give off 100,000 tons of toxic gases. This is because when the trees decompose; they produce methane gas, which is 25 times more potent than the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
  • By replanting your potted tree your carbon footprint can be reduced by up to 80%.
  • Burning your tree on a bonfire means the CO2 it stored up when growing is emitted; so there’s actually no net increase.

Source: The Carbon Trust

If not reused or recycled, the trees not only have an environmental impact but also cost the taxpayer.

When put into landfill the millions of trees disposed of in the UK end ups costing the Government around £22 million.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, said “Millions of families around the UK celebrated Christmas with a beautiful Fir or Spruce tree in their home, but when the decorations are taken down, it’s important that we dispose of trees sustainably.”

“If you have a tree with its roots still attached, then replanting your Christmas tree is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help our efforts to plant more trees.”

By Hannah Bateman