After surviving the most hectic time of the year, doing something for the earth is probably one of the last things on your mind after the holidays. Yet there are simple steps you can take during the season to help the environment: buy a live tree from a nursery that you can replant after the holidays, or recycle your cut tree.

Why recycle Christmas trees?

Every year, Bay Staters buy one million cut Christmas trees. Simply throwing them away would not only be a waste of reusable resources, but a disposal problem. If all the cut trees sold in Massachusetts this holiday season were packed tightly together on their sides, they could fill every square foot of a major regional shopping mall to a height of 15 feet, or create a pile that would rise ten stories and span a football field from one goal post to the other

Is the state doing something about this?

Yes. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has been working with municipal officials - as well as retailers and landscaping companies - to establish community Christmas tree recycling programs in every region of the state. Today, more than 200 cities and towns provide their residents with an opportunity to recycle their trees. And every year, DEP is helping officials launch programs in additional communities.

How can I recycle my tree?

That depends on where you live. In many towns and cities across Massachusetts, trees can be dropped off at a central location where they are later chipped into mulch for use in municipal landscaping projects. A few communities even provide curbside collection of trees. Be sure to remove all tinsel, decorations and hooks, etc.

Where can I get more information?

To find out if your community has a Christmas tree recycling program, contact your local public works department or recycling committee. See Recycling in My Community for additional information.