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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.


Picture of Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin covers food and agriculture for Illinois Newsroom. Her work has reached both national and regional audiences through WILL's partnership with Harvest Public Media, an ag-focused Midwest reporting collaborative. Prior to Illinois Newsroom, she worked at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. and for other member stations including KQED in San Francisco and 91.5 KRCC in Colorado Springs, CO. ➤ DCronin@illinois.edu@DanaHCronin

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