What happens to all those discarded Christmas trees?

·2 min read

Real Christmas trees were in demand this year, as more of us played it safe and hunkered down at home for the holidays.

But after the ornaments are boxed away and another year has turned over, have you ever wondered what happens to all those curbed Christmas trees?

For the past 15 years, Niagara Region has collected discarded trees from low-density residential areas. From 2015 to 2019, around 488 tonnes of Christmas trees were collected, averaging 122 tonnes per year.

This year, Christmas trees will be picked up from the curb on your regular garbage day, between Jan. 11 and 15.

At least 16 dedicated trucks will be running across the Region to collect the trees, bringing them to landfills where they will be ground into wood chips and used for Regional projects, distributed to residents, and sent to composting sites where the chips are laid over yard waste to aid in composting and to provide a pine scent.

According to Andrew Korchok, with the Region, this year’s cost for Christmas tree collection will ring in at approximately $148,300 — not accounting for additional taxes.

Using the a Municipal Property Assessment Corporation residential unit count, provided by Korchok, of 170,948 units, the cost per Niagara household of the collection program will be less than a dollar, at around $0.87.

For those who miss the Jan. 11 to 15 collection window, Korchok said in an emailed document that trees will still be picked up with regular organic waste on regular collection days.

Trees can also be brought to Region landfills after the collection window without charge, where they will end up as wood chips.

Tips for placing your tree at the curb:

• Place tree at the end of your driveway no later than 7 a.m. on your regular collection day between Jan. 11 and 15, but not before 5 p.m. the night before

• Remove all decorations prior to collection

• No Christmas trees on or in snow banks

• Do not place tree inside a bag

Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week