Comal County’s Recycling Center began accepting natural Christmas trees and garlands today through Jan. 13, 2023.
The facility is located at 281 Resource Dr., New Braunfels.
All decorations and tinsel must be removed.
In a statement, Texas A&M Forest Service says recycling Christmas trees is one of several eco-friendly, sustainable ways to keep them out of the landfill.
“Even though trees are a renewable resource, we should opt to recycle or dispose of them in a way that helps the environment and gives our trees a second life,” said Alison Baylis, an ecologist with the Forest Service.
Recycling trees is recommended over burning them to prevent wildfire danger. Comal County remains under a burn ban.
The most-common recycling option is chipping Christmas trees into mulch, which can be used for a variety of needs around homes and yards. Mulch can be placed around the base of trees and gardens as an insulator to help plants withstand cold temperatures and prevent soil erosion and compaction.
Chrismas trees also can be placed in yards, nature landscapes and bodies of water to create wildlife habitat, the Forest Service said. Tree limbs are a great way to insulate garden plants.
When Christmas trees are sunken into bodies of water, they increase the complexity of aquatic habitats. Woody debris provides a safe place for aquatic species to flourish, which increases overall biodiversity.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) spokesperson Kirk McDonnell said Christmas trees are not part of an ongoing habitat refurbishment project at Canyon Lake.
“TPWD prefers to use natural brush, such as the very common juniper, and supplement it with artificial structures for increased permanence,” he said. “…However, this could be considered in future years if sufficient interest is present. Individuals looking to install their own Christmas tree brush piles would have to reach out to the local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) office for permission.”
(Editor’s Note: We have reached out to the USACE’s Canyon Lake office to learn more.)
On land, Christmas trees create a wildlife habitat for birds to use as a shelter, the Forest Service said.
And next Christmas, don’t feel guilty about chopping down a live tree.
Living Christmas trees benefit the environment by sequestering carbon, supporting local businesses and tree farmers, and filling families’ homes with the smell and feel of a real tree, Baylis said.