Here's How to Recycle That Christmas Tree

Recycled trees have a ton of useful purposes, so don't just trash yours with the crumpled wrapping paper

After Santa's eaten all the cookies, and there's no gift left unwrapped (womp womp), you'll eventually be looking for the best way to get rid of that Christmas tree.

But instead of trashing your tree, recycle it. Recycled trees have a ton of versatile uses, including as mulch, wildlife habitats and material to line trails for hikers.

How do you do it? Every community is different, so check out your local options.

In general, most areas will collect trees during regular waste and recycling pickup schedules for the two weeks following Christmas -- so don't dally if you're planning to put it outside. Make sure it's free of any inorganic material like ornaments and tinsel.

You can also take your tree to a drop-off recycling center, available in most counties around the country. You can typically take two trees per day to a center free of charge.

If you have the means, you can cut the tree yourself and fit it into your yard waste container.

Many communities now offer tree recycling and mulching programs, which chip and shred trees to make the mulch available for use in your garden -- a great way to make the most of your investment both in terms of dollars and satisfaction! Check with your local department of public works for details.

Also investigate nonprofit groups, like the Boy Scouts, which may offer a pickup service for a small donation, typically just $5.

For complete details and links, visit the National Christmas Tree Association's Web site

Think your old tree can't really do any good in the world? Think again: Old Christmas trees helped shore up dunes in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, generated electricity in Vermont and helped beautify communities in San Diego.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Have a smart way you recycle or reuse your Christmas tree each year? Let us know in the comments!

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