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Christmas is over for another year, and Twelfth Night is approaching.
It is likely if you have a real tree that it has seen better days, and is now shedding needles all over the floor – so how should you get rid of it?
A BBC survey has found about two thirds of council areas in Scotland will collect your tree from the kerbside – though some will charge a fee to do the job – and recycle it for you.
In other areas, you will have to make the recycling centre trip yourself.
A mixed picture across Scotland
BBC Scotland surveyed all of Scotland’s local authorities to find out what disposal provisions they provide for those with real Christmas trees. The picture is mixed.
- 20 councils will collect your real Christmas tree from the kerbside. Most ask for it to be cut up and placed inside or next to the appropriate bin.
- 11 asked for Christmas trees to be taken to a local recycling point, where most councils will have them composted. One council did not respond.
- Shetland Islands Council sends the trees to an incinerator, where they will be used to produce hot water for locals during one of the coldest times of year. The council said this is more cost effective than shipping the trees to the Scottish mainland.
Reality Check: Your Christmas tree’s carbon footprint
They are the ultimate Christmas decoration and millions are bought in the UK each year. But what impact do Christmas trees – real and artificial – have on the environment?
How you dispose of your real tree can make a big difference to its carbon footprint – according to the Carbon Trust, if you burn your Christmas tree, plant it or have it chipped or composted, its carbon footprint is reduced by up to 80%.
A real tree that is recycled – for example chipped or composted, or keeps growing – can have negligible or even negative emissions.
A fake tree needs to be re-used at least 10 times before the benefit exceeds that of a real tree which is only used once.
A 2m artificial tree has a carbon footprint which is more than twice that of a real tree that ends its life in landfill – and more than 10 times that of real trees that are burned.
Where can I recycle my Christmas tree? The services in your area.
Aberdeen city – Trees can be collected along with, but ideally inside, brown wheelie bins. Collections scheduled between 7 and 18 January. For residents using communal bins, they should leave trees next to bins between 3 and 12 January for uplift.
Aberdeenshire – Trees can be taken to a local recycling area to be composted along with garden waste.
Angus – Christmas trees can be cut up and placed in the householder’s garden waste bin, or recycled in the garden waste skip at a recycling centre. Alternatively, the council will collect the tree if the householder pays for a special uplift fee of £25.60.
Argyll and Bute – Trees to be taken to a recycling centres for composting.
Clackmannanshire – Christmas trees to be disposed of alongside the garden waste at the Forthbank recycling centre in Alloa. The waste will be sent elsewhere to be made into a “compost-like soil enhancer”, according to the council.
Dumfries and Galloway– Tree lengths up to 1m can be put out for collection alongside your wheelie bin or refuse sacks until 18 January, or taken to a recycling centre.
Dundee – The city’s two recycling centres on Piper Street and Wright Avenue will accept real trees to be composted.
East Ayrshire – Trees will be collected in the brown bin collections. Householders should cut them down to fit. Alternatively, a separate collection of trees will take place 14 – 18 January. All will be sent for composting.
East Dunbartonshire – Skips are arranged in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and Bearsden for locals to put their Christmas trees in. Collections are organised for residents who cannot take their tree to the local skip. East Dunbartonshire Council told BBC Scotland News that last year they collected more than 600 Christmas trees. More than 20 tonnes of trees were recycled between the community skip and household collections.
East Lothian – You can take your tree to a recycling centre for composting, or put it beside the brown bin for uplift on your garden waste collection day.
East Renfrewshire – Christmas trees will be collected in the week beginning 7 January. They can also be left with your garden waste bin on collection day to be recycled.
Edinburgh – If you have signed up to receive garden waste collections, you should put your tree on the kerbside on collection day. If you have not signed up for garden waste collections, or use communal rubbish and recycling facilities, then you should put your tree next to your communal bin on the tree collection day for your street.
Falkirk– Trees can be taken to recycling centres or a brown bin collection can be arranged for free via Falkirk Council.
Fife – You can recycle your real Christmas tree in your brown bin, or take it to a recycling centre. If you are putting it in the brown bin, trees must be cut up so the lid can be closed.
Glasgow – Real Christmas trees can be put in the brown bin for kerbside collection for those who have one. Again, the tree should be cut up so the lid can close. Alternatively, trees can be taken to any of the council recycling centres, or taken to one of the three recycling points in Kelvingrove, Pollok or Alexandra Park between 3 and 19 January.
The trees collected in the brown bins or taken to the recycling centres are sent for composting and the trees taken to the parks are chipped and shredded on site for use within the parks. Chippings will be available for the public to take free of charge from Pollok Park.
Highland – Householders should take Christmas trees to their local recycling centres for composting.
Inverclyde – Christmas trees can be taken to one of the garden waste containers at the recycling depots in Greenock and Gourock.
Midlothian – If you cannot take your tree to your nearest recycling centre, the council will arrange a bulky uplift for a charge of £25.
Moray – You can recycle your tree by putting it out next to your brown bin, or taking it to your nearest manned recycling centre. All Christmas trees collected in Moray are sent to Keenan Recycling in Turriff to be turned into compost.
North Lanarkshire – A special uplift of your tree can be arranged via the council free by phoning 01698 403110. The trees are sent to a contractor to be composted.
Orkney Islands – Orkney Islands Council will do a Christmas tree collection in February – all trees collected this way will be added to garden waste piles. Alternatively, they can be taken to local recycling centres.
Perth and Kinross – You can chop up your tree and put it in your brown-lidded bin if you have a garden waste permit, or take it to a local recycling centre.
Renfrewshire – Real Christmas trees should be taken to your nearest recycling site and put in the green waste skips.
Scottish Borders – Take your tree to any recycling centre for composting.
Shetland Islands – Christmas trees that are deposited at the Council’s recycling centre are sent to the local Energy Recovery Plant. This is more cost effective than shipping the trees to the Scottish mainland – and produces hot water for the Lerwick district heating scheme during one of the coldest periods of the year.
South Ayrshire – To recycle your tree, cut it up and put it in your brown bin. You should arrange a free winter brown bin collection. If this is not an option, you should contact the council on 0300 123 0900 to arrange an uplift.
South Lanarkshire – If your Christmas tree can be cut down to fit in your burgundy bin with the lid closed, SLC will collect it from the kerbside as normal. You can also request a free green waste uplift, or take your tree to any of their six recycling centres.
Stirling – Residents can take Christmas trees to any of the recycling centres in the area.
West Dunbartonshire – Real trees can be composted after the Christmas period through either the brown wheelie bin kerbside collection system or by taking the tree to one of the area’s recycling centres at Renton or Old Kilpatrick.
Western Isles – Western Isles Council have not yet responded to a request for information on the provisions they provide to recycle real Christmas trees.
West Lothian – You should cut up real Christmas trees and place them in or beside your brown bins at the kerbside on the next scheduled collection day. Trees can also be taken to any of the area’s five household waste recycling centres to be taken to a composting facility.