Recycling Christmas Trees





Introduction: Recycling Christmas Trees

In this Instructable, I will show how I recycled my Christmas tree. Throwing out Christmas trees after the holidays were over always bothered me, and I always thought there should be some other use for the dead trees. A few years back I heard of an organization that takes Christmas trees and builds sand dunes at beaches with them to stop beach erosion. I couldn't find them on the internet, so I did the next best thing. I turned the tree into firewood...

Step 1: Trim the Tree...

Start out by taking the tree outside or somewhere that you don't mind getting pine needles everywhere. Then take a garden cutting apparatus of your choice and start trimming off all of the trees branches. I used a lopper. Start cutting at the bottom of the tree where the branches are the densest and work your way to the top. Try to cut as close to the trunk as possible.

Once you have the branches off the tree, it's time to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Saw Into Logs

Once you have all of the branches off of the tree, the next step is to cut the bare tree trunk into logs that can fit into a fireplace. I used a handsaw to cut the trunk into logs about 1.5 feet long.

Step 3: Burn the Wood

Once the Christmas tree trunk is cut up, all that is left is to burn the logs as firewood. Be careful playing with fire!!!



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    21 Discussions

    We're fortunate enough in Toronto to have them composted by the city. Sconniebabe was criticizing having a real tree if we were trying to go green and I've asked myself the question. I came to the conclusion that it's either that or nothing (which I'm sorry to say I'm not yet green enough to forgo the Christmas tree...maybe an instructable one day). The artificial ones are made out of plastic and like it or not, it will eventually end up in the land fill and take generations to deconstruct.

    2 replies

    Hey Surfon, yes Artificial trees can and do end up in the refuse cycle,
    this is where the environmental aspect, and thinking come to the forefront.
    Think recycle,think reuse, think about what other alternatives are available.
    Artificial trees don't have to end up in the refuse pile. Plastic and steel and aluminum can all be reclaimed, it takes a bit of initiative here. Recycling
    at first is a real pain in the butt but after the simple impetus is put into
    motion becomes a much simpler, almost every moment thought. We as
    a species need to get away from the Buy and Trash, let's consume it!
    and not replace it state of mind.    I have done research over the years,
    you might say I got a Pine needle up the butt over it, but my research has
    shown that an artificial tree used for 10-20 years prolongs the life of a
    wild tree time 10 t0 20 times. Multiply that by the trees not cut out of the
    "wild" amounts to a lot of " Lungs" that help us, the world, breathe a bit
    easier.       Merry Christmas!!

    Well, except that the typical christmas tree is cultivated for this specific purpose, so if we suddenly no longer desired live christmas trees, there would be no profit motive in growing them in those tree farms, so those trees would get replaced with something to produce a prophit and thus they would not live 10 to 20 times longer, but rather never get planted in the first place.

    the Tree is great for mulching and composting. Large Branches and Trunks
    are good for fires indoors or out, pine smoke just as all other wood combustibles have chemical tars entrained within, although pine is
    extremely high in pitch and naturally converted by heat creosote compounds
    which can cause chimmney  fires.   Strip the greenery off the branches
    use as mulch and the flexible branches can be woven into natural baskets
    for planting in outdoors.

    One thing I've done to recycle my old tree is to cut it into sections between the branches. Using the branch as a handle, you can carve out the trunk into a dipper. They're handy for getting water up to my hanging baskets.

    How about all the limbs? Still quite a bit of mass going into the landfill? And as some have posted, you don't want pine smoke in your chim-chimney

    I was going to say the same thing. OK for fire pits and camp fires, but dont burn inside.

    My neighbor collects them and throws them in the lake behind his house. They evidently provide a good habitat for different fish. It's pretty funny when the droughts come, as he'll have 10 to 15 trees laying on his beach waiting for the rains.

    1 reply

    so... who's willing to stand outside in Wisconsin, in January. Hacking you Christmas tree apart. to save the planet. if you're concerned about the planet, what are you doing having a real tree?

    1 reply

    True, but I would have no problem standing out in January cutting mine. Then again it is usually somewhere between 70-80 during the day that time of year. I don't think this will "save the planet" but its better than the landfill (at least in communities that still send their trees to the landfill).

    But don't burn in your fire place. Soft wood like pine releases a substance that accumulates in your fireplace and can be very flammable.

    Why not put your Christmas tree outside next to your bird feeder for a month or two? The birds just love this as they feel secure and protected while feeding. After the birds are done with it then hack it up.

    1 reply

    baudeagle, we do this, too, with an additional feature. My kids make ornaments for the birds. They cut out cardboard star-shapes from old boxes and coat them with peanut butter and bird seed. Then we hang them with twine on the branches.

    if you live near stoke poges(UK) bring your christmas trees to the memorial gardens and see me put it through a shredder and use it as compost.we do this each year.

    Christmas trees are used in the south of England to hold the sand dunes on the windy coasts. Great if you live near the coast but not much good inland!

    Great to go green. There are trees fly tipped all over the place at the moment, what christmas spirit. Watch out before burning it though, the wood should be left to season for a summer to dry the sap out. Pines are one of the worst for it, it'll burn off, recondense in your chimney and one day start a chimney fire.

    1 reply

    true, but once they dried they burn very easily because of the residue. Great wood to start a fire.

    Nice job, this is a very good Instructable, agreeing with lasersage, great way to go green.