PHOENIX - What happens to old Christmas trees when they are cast aside? Apparently, quite a bit.
For years, cities and towns have encouraged citizens to recycle their trees instead of clogging landfills with unnecessary clutter. But little did we know what those recycled trees could do.
For instance, freshly trashed trees are often run through a chipper and used as mulch. The nutrients in the tree leech into soil and feed other plants.
However, once the tree begins to turn brown and dry up, those nutrients begin to disappear, so says Trey Granger, a senior waste stream analyst with Earth911inc.
"If you're going to wait until late January or February to recycle your tree, I would advise against that because your recycling opportunities are really limited. You've missed the boat," said Granger.
If you've missed the boat, it doesn't mean your tree must go to waste. It can still be used in some rather unique ways.
Granger says some trees are used to prevent water-erosion by stacking them up along sensitive areas of loose soil.
They can also be placed into rivers or lakes as artificial reefs, giving fish and other life a suitable home in which to breed and stay protected. Some cities even use discarded Christmas trees for electricity, by burning the wood.
Getting rid of your Christmas tree can be easy.
Simply contact your local solid waste department.