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Christmas tree recycling is a good alternative to landfills

JOHN RABY Associated Press

Taking down the Christmas tree is only one task after the holiday season. For those with a real tree, figuring out what to do with it can be as easy as placing it by the curb.

In most states, it can be the gift that keeps on giving.

Discarded Christmas trees can be picked up curbside for recycling through regular trash-collection services in various cities. The trees are often shredded for use as compost or mulch that is offered back to residents and non-profit groups free of charge for gardening and landscaping.

In many states, natural resources workers collect whole trees at predetermined drop-off points to be placed in lakes and waterways as fish habitat.

Some zoos, including petting zoos, accept chemical- and ornament-free Christmas trees to feed to some animals, such as goats, pigs and elephants, and for sensory and entertainment purposes for others, like kangaroos, lions, camels and rhinos.

Or, there’s no place like home. Discarded trees can get their final resting place in a corner of the backyard as a shelter and feeding area for birds.

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