More People Returning Christmas Trees To Nature

Christmas tree sales
This 2014 photo shows Christmas trees on sale at AB Hatchery Lawn & Garden Center in Bloomington.

It’s after Christmas and maybe you’re wondering what to do with the wilting, live tree in your living room. You might think about re-purposing the tree after the ornaments come down.

More people are recycling Christmas trees versus throwing them in a landfill, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

For some trees, that means being tossed into a lake.

“And they become fish habitat for bass and perch and stuff to spawn in the spring,” said Bill Ink, Christmas tree seller in Bloomington.

The National Christmas Tree Association’s website lists several habitat building sites that use old Christmas trees, including in Cook County.

His unsold trees at AB Hatchery end up at the bottom of the appropriately named Lake Evergreen.

Local governments are providing or looking for alternatives like this, says Doug Hundley with the Christmas tree association.

“They want to take all of the compostable or easy to biodegrade products out of the waste stream,” said Hundley.

He says people also are chopping up trees for firewood or turning trees into mulch.


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Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin covers Agriculture for the Illinois Newsroom. She started at Illinois Public Media in December of 2019 after serving as a producer for NPR’s Weekend Edition; and reported for KQED in San Francisco and KRCC in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Email: Twitter: @DanaHCronin