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Treecycle right this festive season

After the 12 days of Christmas are over, and it’s time to take down the tree and pack away the Christmas decorations, Kiwis face the perennial issue of what to do with their Christmas tree.

Auckland Council is encouraging Aucklanders to 'treecycle (recycle your tree) right this summer and plan ahead.

“If you have gone to the trouble of selecting, purchasing, and decorating a live Christmas tree, then please take the time to dispose of it properly," says Parul Sood, Programme Director for Waste Solutions.

Some Aucklanders lose the Christmas spirit after the ‘big day’ and get rid of them in very unusual, and sometimes illegal, ways because they don’t know how to dispose of their Christmas trees responsibly.

“Most Christmas tree collection services start getting busy just after Christmas until around mid-January, with demand peaking around 7 January. But we also see Christmas trees being dumped around Auckland,” says Parul.

Each year, there are multiple instances of trees being dumped illegally. Auckland Council sees them abandoned on the side of the road, on the kerb, and on grass verges. Some get dumped in public parks or thrown into local waterways.

“Aucklanders need to be aware that Christmas trees cannot be thrown out in kerbside rubbish or recycling wheelie bins. So, we’ve put together a list of how Kiwis can dispose of their tree in the right way,” says Sood.

Here are our top tips on how to treecycle your Christmas tree:

• Many Christmas tree farms and suppliers now offer a free Christmas treecycling collection service, which is great news

o Always ask your Christmas tree seller if you can take it back after you’ve finished with it or if they offer a collection service. If they do, check that they can collect it from inside your property, not the kerbside, and if they will put the tree to good use, such as for mulch for compost

• We’d love Christmas trees to have another useful life by turning them into compost so they can return to the soil and help nurture the next generation of Christmas trees

o Compost it or mulch it, if you have the equipment at home

o Some Christmas tree farms accept trees purchased from anywhere, for free, to use for mulch or compost

o Donate to a friend, who can use it as mulch or compost

o Ask your private garden bag or bin collectors if they accept the trees

• The council does not collect Christmas trees, but Christmas trees can also be taken to some local Community Recycling Centres and transfer stations, for a fee.

If you haven’t bought a tree yet (or need ideas for next Christmas):

• Buy a potted traditional Christmas tree that can then be planted in your garden afterwards. For a kiwi-style Christmas, choose a pohutukawa or other native tree. After the festive season, plant it in your garden or consider donating it to a local community organisation for planting.

Waste collection dates are changing during the summer holidays. Click here for full information.

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