As the holiday season comes to a close each year, people across the country face an important question: what should we do with our well-loved, and now quite dry, Christmas trees? For the past 28 years in Georgia, the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation and its network of affiliates have provided an answer: recycle them!
Although the popularity of artificial trees has risen over the years, real trees provide a sustainable solution for families and wildlife alike. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, nearly 350 million Christmas trees currently grow on U.S. farms, absorbing carbon dioxide, emitting fresh oxygen, stabilizing soil, protecting water supplies, and providing refuge for wildlife. For each tree harvested, one to three seedlings are planted in its place, making them a renewable resource, and when people purchase them, they also support local economies.
That environmental stewardship continues when individuals make the choice to recycle their trees in January. Through Keep Georgia Beautiful’s “Bring One for the Chipper” program, trees are collected at over 130 locations throughout the state and repurposed in ways that benefit the environment. The program transforms a large number of trees into mulch for playgrounds, city and county landscaping projects, and individual homes, and sinks others into lakes to create fish habitats. Since the program’s inception, communities across Georgia have diverted over 6 million trees from landfills.
“Bring One for the Chipper” has become a widespread environmental tradition in Georgia. Thanks to partners like The Home Depot, The Davey Tree Expert Company, Georgia Forestry Commission, 11 Alive, Ferry Morse Seed Company, Burpee Seed Company, and One Tree Planted, communities have the drop-off locations, media promotion, and chipper services they need to be successful. Participants also receive complimentary tree seedlings or flower and vegetable seeds to take home with them. Along with the enthusiasm and dedication of nearly 1,000 local volunteers, these resources encourage residents across the state to return year after year.
So if you live in Georgia, visit www.keepgeorgiabeautiful.org on December 21 to find a ‘treecycling’ location near you. If you reside in another state, check with the nonprofits, local businesses, and recycling providers in your area – although “Bring One for the Chipper” is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation, opportunities for recycling trees are increasing in every city and town. It’s easy to do your part to make the holiday season sustainable!
About Keep Georgia Beautiful
Keep Georgia Beautiful has a 40 year history of doing the little things that make a big difference in Georgia communities. Established as the first-ever state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful in 1978 by Governor George Busbee, Keep Georgia Beautiful became a 501(3)c nonprofit in 2011 and builds sustainable communities through litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, water resource management, and community greening. Keep Georgia Beautiful provides support to the largest network of local affiliates in the country, and our 78 local programs represent 80% of Georgia’s population. For more information, visit www.keepgeorgiabeautiful.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.