Millions of Americans looking to get rid of their Christmas trees can now recycle them and benefit the environment as programs are kicking off this week around the U.S.
States like Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri are asking the public to donate their trees to be converted into mulch and fish habitats, which the Missouri Department of Conservation says are made by tying trees to cement blocks and submerging them in depths of around four to seven feet.
“Much like we as humans need a home, fish also need to have shelter so that they can rest, feed, and hunt,” Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Management Biologist John Schulte said in a statement.
“With this cover new generations of fish are more or less likely to be eaten, which can potentially help support the fishery,” he added, providing “quality fishing opportunities for our anglers now and in the future.”
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In New York City – where more than 50,000 trees reportedly were recycled last year — an event called Mulchfest is now underway at dozens of locations across the five boroughs.
“Put on your boots and haul your tree to a Mulchfest location — we’ll chip your tree into wood chips that we’ll use to nourish trees and make NYC even greener,” the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation says.
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Around 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. annually, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
“The biggest endpoint for unused Christmas trees… is conversion into mulch,” Richard Bates, a Pennsylvania State University horticulture professor, told USA Today.
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“There are literally thousands of established programs operated usually by municipalities or community-based groups that will collect and then chip and compost them — and sometimes even resell that end-use product,” he added.