8 Ways To Recycle Your Christmas Tree, Because It's Too Good For The Dumpster

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All the presents are opened, every last bit of eggnog is gone, and the kids are gearing up to go back to school. The only thing that's left of the Christmas spirit in your home is your beautiful tree still standing in the living room. Yes, it was fun decorating it, but now that the holidays are over you're bound to return your living room back to it's normal state soon. To do that though, you must get rid of the tree. So how do you recycle your Christmas tree? You can't just box it up and throw it in the basement with the rest of the decorations (unless it's fake), and yes, your neighbors just throw theirs on the curb, but there are better ways to get rid of your tree.

If you want to recycle your tree and give it another purpose after you've taken all the decorations off, there are many ways to do it. If you're handy, you can use it for DIY projects like making coasters or creating a home for wildlife in your backyard. Or, you can hand it over to the experts and let them recycle it responsibly. There are so many things you can do with your tree instead of chucking it on your sidewalk or unsuccessfully stuffing it into your garbage can. All you need is to think outside the box. Here's a list to help you get started.

1Make A Home For The Birds

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If you move your tree outside still on its stand, wildlife can make a home for themselves. Maybe move your bird feeder onto the tree, creating a cozy home for local birds all winter long.

2Donate It To Sea Creatures

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Not only can you create homes for birds but you can make one for the fishes too. If you'er able to legally and safely drop your tree to the bottom of a pond or lake, you can create an artificial habitat for the sea life within. If there is a prominent fishing community or bait n' tackle shop in your area, check in with them to see if this is program they've already got set up.

3Make Wooden Coasters

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I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but it will only take a few steps. Granted, you should be comfortable with a saw and not mind a little bit of a mess in your garage. It's a fun project you can brag to all your friends about. All you need to do is cut the thickest part of the trunk into slices and sand them down to make it nice and smooth. Then you can get as creative as you'd like: stain them, paint colorful patterns onto the surface, you name it. On the non-patterned side, add a piece of felt so that it doesn't scratch your able surface and you're good to go! You not only recycled your tree but made an impressive gift as well!

4Turn It Into Mulch

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You can return your once-beautiful tree to the earth and do your garden good in the meantime. "Cut off the boughs and place them on the ground like a blanket," according to Rodale's Organic Life, to create homemade mulch for your own yard. This will not only help keep your plants safe all winter long but will help weeds from growing, improve fertility, and overall health of the soil.

5Make Your Home Smell Like Pine

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If your tree is still relatively fresh and has that festive smell, you can create pine needle sachets and sprinkle them around your home to hold onto the scent a bit longer. Collect the needles and put them in cotton sachet bags ($6 for 12, Amazon) that you either buy or sew yourself.

6Bring Your Tree To Home Depot

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Where ever you live a Home Depot isn't far, unless you live on an island somewhere. But there are 2,200 Home Depots in the U.S. alone, and many are participating in a free Christmas Tree drop off. Just call your local store and see if it's one of them. You'll get rid of your tree with no hassle and be comforted knowing that it's either going to be turned into mulch or create a habit for water creatures in local ponds and lakes.

7Find A Christmas Tree Recycle Program

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If your local Home Depot is not participating in its own recycling program, don't worry. Just search Earth911 to find a local recycling center which offers free Christmas Tree drop-offs. One will be sure to want that old tree.

8Give Your Tree To The Local Fire Department

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Firefighters do more than just put out fires. They actually start them too. Some may use your old Christmas tree to start bonfires for the whole community. So make some mulled "wine", because this is a gathering you don't want to miss.

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