Christmas tree recycling success

8:59am - 04 March 2021
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Following in the festive spirit the recycling and waste team at North Somerset Council adopted a more sustainable approach for disposing of Christmas trees.

The council worked with three local organisations to support the Christmas tree recycling programme: Weston-super-Mare Rotary, St Peters Hospice in Long Ashton and the Noah’s Ark Zoo and Farm in Wraxall.

Cllr Bridget Petty, North Somerset Council's executive member whose portfolio includes recycling and waste said that the idea was to support the climate emergency by cutting down on transportation and carbon emissions, while also providing a valuable resource for regeneration. 

"Working with these different organisations to re-purpose and recycle the trees was a great way to build a partnership which encourages sustainable local solutions and has a positive impact on the climate change emergency. We look forward to building on these relationships and being involved in similar projects."

The council collects real Christmas trees from properties that are registered for the kerbside garden waste service. The trees are accepted over the first two weeks, once the garden waste collection service is re-introduced following Christmas. For properties that are not registered for that service, Christmas trees can be taken to any of the three recycling centres in North Somerset at Weston-super-Mare, Backwell and Portishead and put into the garden waste skip.

Once collected the garden waste recycling is transported to the transfer station in Weston and then to an industrial facility in Gloucester, where it is commercially composted to create nutrient-rich fertiliser.

The volunteers from Weston Rotary ran their first 'Pines for Pounds' event and collected 500 trees. With the help of a £1,000 donation from Banwell Young Farmers they raised £6,270 for Weston Hospice. The trees they collected were taken directly to the transfer station and combined for recycling with the garden waste from the household collections.

St Peter’s Hospice in Long Ashton organised their Christmas tree collections in partnership with JustHelping, a national non-profit organisation.  With the help of local businesses, corporate partners and community volunteers, they raised over £20,000 and collected over 1,400 trees.

This was an environmental success as the hospice worked with local tree surgeons to chip the trees and then use those chippings for the hospice grounds and local allotments.

The council also partnered with the Noah’s Ark Zoo and Farm. The zoo has been collecting Christmas trees for many years and were pleased to have support with this. Trees were left intact to provide habitat enrichment and for the animals to explore, enjoy and play with. 

Larry Bush, Managing Director of Noah's Ark Zoo and Farm added: “We really love the Christmas tree recycling programme and so do all our animals. By joining forces with North Somerset Council, it enabled us to chip the remaining trees efficiently to use around the zoo grounds. We hope to build on this popular scheme next year and to continue our partnership with the council."

Glendale, North Somerset Council's parks and street scene contractor, stepped up to the plate and their team chipped over 1,500 trees to be used for grounds maintenance and animal bedding. 

"I want to say a big 'thank you' to everyone who donated their Christmas tree to any of these schemes and to all the people who worked to support the project," added Cllr Petty. "The third national lockdown meant the zoo had to stop taking donations, but there were still lots of trees delivered before that happened. 

"Each organisation involved in the scheme this year has said that they would like to expand and build on this great initiative next year and we look forward to working with them and local communities to continue promoting eco-friendly alternatives to Christmas tree disposal."

If you would like more information about how the trees helped the Zoo and the animals visit https://www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk/blog/christmas-tree-recycling-with-north-somerset-council