COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Many Texans are enjoying a real Christmas tree for the holidays this year.

Earlier this month, the Texas A&M Forest Service said there was a healthy demand fresh-cut Christmas trees across the state, according to information from the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Unfortunately, many of these trees will end up in a landfill as their final resting place after serving their purpose.

According to a press release from the Texas A&M Forest Service (TAMFS), there are several eco-friendly ways to dispose or recycle that Christmas tree when the holidays are over.

“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, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Urban Ecologist in the press release. “By recycling Christmas trees, we can reduce our carbon footprint and support a more sustainable holiday season.”

Here are some ways to sustainably dispose of Christmas trees the Texas A&M Forest Service shared in their press release:

  • Recycle
    Real trees are biodegradable, and many communities have tree recycling programs. Check with your local waste management company, a nearby garden center or conservation organization to find out if Christmas tree recycling, whether curbside pickup or a drop-off station, is available in your area. Recycling trees is recommended over burning them to help prevent wildfire danger.

  • Mulch
    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.

  • Pond and wildlife habitat
    Place Christmas trees in yards or nature landscapes or in bodies of water to create habitat for wildlife. When Christmas trees are sunken into water bodies, they increase the complexity of the aquatic habitat. Woody debris provides a place for aquatic species to flourish, which increases overall biodiversity. If you do not have a pond or lake on your property, contact local officials to see if there is a suitable body of water in which you can properly dispose of your tree.

    You can also choose to set your tree in your yard, creating a wildlife habitat. Birds can use your old Christmas tree as a shelter. Enjoy the view by tying bird feed, orange slices, popcorn and other bird-friendly treats to your tree and watch the birds fill the branches.

  • Fun family crafts
    Keep the holiday spirit alive after Christmas by using parts of Christmas trees to make fun family activities such as tree cookies and coasters. Cut the trunk of your tree to make coasters or other decorative accent pieces in your home. Go a step further and let kids paint the tree cookies for one-of-a-kind artwork.

TAMFS said to make sure to remove all decorations such as ornaments, lights and ribbon.

If the tree is sprayed with flocking (fake snow), it should not be recycled.

For more information on how to sustainably recycle your Christmas tree, you can contact your Texas A&M Forest Service district office.