Christmas tree recycling pushed by London mayor

4 January 2008

Councils across the country have started encouraging their residents to start 2008 on a "green footing" by recycling their Christmas trees.

London’s Trafalgar square Christmas tree is prepared for shredding.As twelfth night approaches - the day when Christmas decorations traditionally come down - authorities from Liverpool city council to Tewkesbury borough council have been offering collection points and composting advice for waste trees.

In London, London Assembly member Murad Qureshi this morning helped to recycle the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree by feeding the 22 metre tall tree into a shredding machine, for shredding and composting.

It is estimated that most of the 976,000 Christmas trees bought in the capital will be simply thrown away instead of being composted and to help improve that record, all 33 London boroughs are this year offering additional Christmas tree recycling services.

Supporting the initiative, London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Currently Londoners recycle less than a quarter of their rubbish, but we can actually do much more.

"I hope the chipping of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree will encourage Londoners to think about how they dispose of their own trees and other rubbish like old cards and wrapping paper, left over from Christmas," he added.

Manchester

In Manchester, the city council has set itself a target to recycle 100 tonnes of Christmas trees by taking them to collection points throughout the city or arrange a doorstep collection, having already collected over 96 tonnes in December.

Manchester's executive member for planning and the environment, councillor Neil Swannick, explained: "There are plenty of options for people who want to dispose of their tree in an environmentally-friendly way and I'd encourage them to help us make it a record-breaking start to 2008."

This year, some less conventional ways of promoting Christmas tree recycling have also emerged.

Tomorrow (5 January, 2007) Cambridgeshire county council is promoting an "X-treeme" Christmas tree shredding event at Littleport in East Cambridgeshire, which is being run by the Cambridgeshire Community Reuse and Recycling Network and Compost Connections.

In Bradford, meanwhile, the council is planning to turn the nine civic Christmas trees across the district into wood chips to fuel the council's Civic hall once festivities have finished.

The council is installing two of three new biomass boilers at its City Hall and Ilkley Town Hall next year.

Councillor Anne Haweksworht, Bradford's executive member for environment and culture, said: "Usually the trees are transported for recycling but this year we can recycle them ourselves in our new facilities which save on cost and also reduces our carbon footprint."