GREENVILLE — After the holiday sparkle is over and the decorations are packed away, think twice before throwing out the Christmas tree and lights.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year. They are adorned with decorations and are often a great part of the Christmas holiday tradition. Ultimately, the day comes on which they need disposed.
In addition to adding them to local landfills, biodegradable trees can benefit local wildlife, the soil in the yard, or even nearby restoration projects. Here are some easy ways to help wildlife or enrich local area habitats with the trees. All decorations must be removed before donating trees.
Beginning December 27, Darke County Park District is accepting the trees at the Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center, in Greenville, Ohio. Signs are posted along the gravel main maintenance access driveway that lead to the big red barn in the back, behind the nature center. Friends of the Park Volunteer and Secretary at Shawnee Prairie Preserve Sandy Hoying sees the value in recycling trees.
“This keeps the life on-going,” she said. “The alternative is people put them in the trash.”
According to Park District President Roger Van Frank, the trees keep the weeds and invasive plants abated and from coming into the trails, which cuts down on mowing and maintenance. The trees also make good cushions and shelter for wildlife. The Park District accepts trees until January 13. Unfortunately, trees that have been sprayed with fake snow cannot be accepted.
Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers. Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish. Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn attract birds, which can sit in the branches for shelter. A Christmas tree’s branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
Other recyclable holiday decorations are Christmas lights and extension chords. Darke County Solid Waste Management District (DCSWMD) Director Krista K. Fourman said the light strands are made of copper wire and some kind of plastic, which are sent to 1 Shot Services, in Bradford for recycling.
“It’s good to recycle as much as you can so we are not filling up our landfills,” she said. “If you have new things after Christmas, and you want to dispose of older items, donate them to people or businesses, such as Goodwill, who can reuse them.”
Shawnee Prairie Preserve and Nature Center is located at 4267 State Route 502, in Greenville, Ohio.
The Darke County Solid Waste Management District is located at 684 Wagner Ave; Suite C, in Greenville, Ohio.
1 Shot Services is located at 6377 Hahn Road., in Bradford, Ohio.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.