What happens to all those discarded Christmas trees?

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

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 is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with Niagara This Week