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Going Green: Tree-recycling

Christmas trees have a predictable lifespan: After about five weeks, they kick the bucket (or the tree stand) . Often, the trees that inspire so much happiness end up in the trash. This year you may want to consider recycling. Ground into mulch and used as fertilizer, old trees help new ones grow.

Many local governments collect and recycle trees in early January. If you use a private trash service, call and ask to have your tree picked up. If you live in DC, set your tree out wherever your trash is usually collected between  January 2 and 19, and the Department of Public Works will recycle it for you. More details here.

If you miss the dates for local government pick up, you can buy a chipper from a hardware store and grind your own mulch. If that’s too pricey—chippers are priced as much as $500 at Home Depot—there are also commercial and government-run pickup sites. Plug your Zip code into the Earth911 Web site to find nearby tree-recycling services.