It is that wonderful time of the year again where we decorate the Christmas tree, search through the crowded mall for the best gifts and bake delicious Christmas cookies that we try not to eat ourselves. We prepare all month for this single day and then once it is over, there is just about the same amount of energy utilized to take all of the decorations down, eat whatever cookies are left and look forward to the next holiday.

After we are done with our Christmas tree, what is the best way to dispose of it? The answer is to recycle it. In the United States, there are about 33 million trees sold each year. Trees are grown specifically for the holiday. They absorb CO2 until they die and they are biodegradable, making them the greener option when it comes to real or fake Christmas trees. At the end of the season, they can be recycled a few different ways including, where they are chopped into mulch, used to slow down erosion or added to compost. Yes, trees are biodegradable and would break down in a landfill, but it takes a long time due to lower oxygen levels. 

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Be more aware of the programs within your county for tree recycling and look for labels on the tree for wherever you purchase it. Sometimes there is already information on the tree to guide you on how to dispose of the tree in a sustainable way. The Earth911 website also has a database that allows you to find local recycling centers and information. Just be sure not to dispose of your Christmas tree into your garbage; it has the potential to be utilized in many ways. You can even compost it yourself or buy a potted Christmas tree that can be planted after the holiday as well. Christmas is the season to give; therefore, give back to the earth by making the best decisions to keep it healthy.

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Stephanie Siemek is a freelance writer whose work can be found on