Dreaming of a Green Christmas? Start by Recycling Your Tree

Submitted by the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation

As the holiday season comes to a close each year, Georgians face an important question: what should we do with our well-loved, and now quite dry, Christmas trees? For the past 32 years, the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation (KGBF) and its network of affiliates have provided an answer: recycle them!

Although the popularity of artificial trees has risen over the years, real trees provide a sustainable solution for families and wildlife alike. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, nearly 350 million Christmas trees currently grow on U.S. farms, absorbing carbon dioxide, emitting fresh oxygen, stabilizing soil, protecting water supplies, and providing refuge for wildlife. For each tree harvested, one to three seedlings are planted in its place, making them a renewable resource, and when people purchase them, they also support local economies.

That environmental stewardship continues when individuals make the choice to recycle their trees in January. Through KGBF’s “Bring One for the Chipper” program, trees are collected at over 150 locations throughout the state and repurposed in ways that benefit the environment. The program transforms a large number of trees into mulch for playgrounds, city and county landscaping projects, and individual homes, and sinks others into lakes to create fish habitats. Since the program’s inception, communities across Georgia have diverted over six million trees from landfills.

“Bring One for the Chipper” has become a widespread environmental tradition in Georgia. Thanks to partners such as The Georgia Forestry Commission, The Home Depot, The Davey Tree Expert Company, 11 Alive, Ferry Morse Seed Company, and Burpee Seed Company, communities have the drop-off locations, media promotion, and chipping services they need to be successful. The Georgia Forestry Commission even provides complimentary tree seedlings for interested participants. As a result, tens of thousands of dogwoods, red cedars, red maples, white oaks, and more have been planted by residents over the years. These resources, along with the enthusiasm and dedication of nearly 1,000 local volunteers, encourage people to return year after year.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to visit www.kgbf.org and find a ‘treecycling’ location near you. “Bring One for the Chipper” is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation, and opportunities for recycling trees are increasing in every city and town. It’s never been easier to do your part to make the holiday season sustainable!

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