Bagging your Christmas tree is a cherished holiday tradition. Getting rid of it is a bit less glorious. No more twinkly lights, dump it on the sidewalk, all done with that now.
Surely your tree deserves a more heroic outcome.
A Dallas firm dedicated to recycling has initiated a program to find a second life for those used trees. Turn Compost will pick up your tree, mulch it, and donate it to a community partner that will put it back into the soil.
Turn is the startup founded in 2018 to pick up food scraps from restaurants, businesses, and residents which it transforms into valuable composting material. Founder Lauren Clarke saw an opportunity to get something good out of all those Christmas trees that most people simply dump.
"Christmas trees make great mulch that's so good for our soil and our environment," she says. "People spend $50 to $100 to buy a tree. We're trying to make it easy for people to do the right thing with the trees once they're done."
If you put your tree out with bulk trash, it does not get recycled. It goes into the landfill, just like all of your other trash.
In prior years, the city of Dallas did partner with Home Depot to do a similar tree recycling program. But unfortunately, it was discontinued because people dropped off trees that were "contaminated" with elements that could not be recycled such as decorations, lights, and "flocked" trees with that weird spray-on snow. (If you want to take the most eco-friendly path with your tree, do not get the ones with sprayed-on snow.)
Turn's program includes pick-up, mulching, and transport to a farm or other recipient who will put the mulch to good use. They're working with two local companies on the endeavor: FARM, aka Farmers Assisting Returning Military, who have a two-acre urban park in Deep Ellum where they'll collect all the trees; and Texas Tree Surgeons, who will do the mulching.
They'll do the pickups in stages over the next three weeks, coordinating participants by zip code and then doing a sweep, neighborhood by neighborhood.
You can sign up for Turn's service via their website; they have a special "product" marked Christmas tree.
Alternatively, you can also call gardening centers such as Calloway's who will pick up your tree for about $50 — but those trees do not get mulched or recycled; they're simply thrown away. Turn's fee of $20 is cheap by comparison, and you also get the knowledge that you're doing something positive for the environment.
"We're not making money on this," Clarke says. "The $20 will barely cover our costs. It's maybe a crazy idea — it's going to be a wet, muddy, disgusting labor of love for the environment — but it's just something we wanted to do."