Five inventive and green ways to dispose of your old Christmas tree

Need to get rid of your tree? Here's our top tips
Need to get rid of your tree? Here's our top tips

So Christmas is over for another year, your clothes are a little tighter, your wallet much lighter - and now thoughts turn to disposing of the tree.

Eight million real Christmas trees are bought every year in the UK, the equivalent of all the trees in London, but after the lights are switched off and the tinsel has come down, many end up discarded on the streets.

How to get rid of your tree

How to get rid of your tree

The government has released this official advice on what to do with your old Christmas tree once the decorations are put back in the attic.

Households generate nearly a third more waste over the festive season than any other time of the year – with the Local Government Association estimating it costs the taxpayer nearly £100 for every 40 Christmas trees sent to landfill.

So whether it’s re-planting, having it recycled to be chipped for paths or burning it on a bonfire, Mr Jones called on local people to think about the afterlife of their tree and follow one of his 5 practical tips.

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said: "When the festive season comes to an end and the clean-up operation begins we should make sure we’re all doing our bit for the environment.

Nobody wants to spend January dodging old trees littering the streets. Reusing or recycling your Christmas tree is not only good for the planet it means your local council doesn’t have to waste money on landfill.

Many councils offer special Christmas treecycling services"

Real Christmas trees can be better for the environment if recycled properly than an artificial tree which can take centuries to decompose in a landfill.

In fact, it’s better for the environment to burn your Christmas tree than it is to throw it in the bin. According to the Carbon Trust, a real Christmas tree that ends up in a landfill decomposes and produces methane gas which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

However burning a Christmas tree just releases the carbon dioxide it stored when it was growing.

This year the UK has recycled 43.9% of all rubbish.

But for Christmas trees, Mr Jones offered 5 practical tips:

1. Replant your tree in a garden to give it a new lease of life - adding bird feeders will also provide a new shelter for wildlife.

2. Drop your tree off at a recycling centre where it can be chipped for walk paths or turned into soil.

3. Check out your local council’s website to see if there’s a special collection service.

4. Find an organisation or a charity that offers a treecyling service where it could be used to make effective barriers against floods.

5. Safely cut up and burn your Christmas tree on a bonfire or a fireplace.

These are among the top tips by organisations including the Carbon Trust as well as several councils and charities that offer collection services.

According to the Carbon Trust, it can take up to ten uses of an artificial Christmas tree to see the same benefits of using a real Christmas tree.

In addition, a new voluntary framework developed by the Waste Resources Action Plan (WRAP) helps councils to keep their recycling schemes straightforward and easy to follow.

The new framework, developed by the Waste Resources Action Plan (WRAP), is a voluntary approach which requires local decisions, tailored to the characteristics of the area and the community to which the services are provided.