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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – There are several alternatives for safe Christmas tree and wrapping paper disposal in place of burning.
“Burning Christmas trees and wrapping paper could become a hazard if the fire escapes, creating a wildfire,” said James DeGrazia, wildland urban interface specialist I at the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Instead, DeGrazia said to recycle Christmas trees. Mulch the tree and use the mulch in landscaping beds.
“Composting is a great way to dispose of your Christmas tree and extend its use,” DeGrazia said. “The branches from your tree make a good base for a compost pile. If you take your tree to a chipper, you can use the resulting mulch in your compost heap. Compost makes great natural fertilizer.”
Some of his other ideas are chipping it and cutting the trunk into small pieces and using them as pathway edging. DeGrazia also suggested tossing it in a pond to create fish habitat and food.
When it comes to recycling wrapping paper, DeGrazia said only plain wrapping paper can be recycled.
“Do the scrunch test,” DeGrazia explained. “Take a piece of wrapping paper and scrunch it into a ball in your
hand. Open your hand and take a look. If the paper stays in a ball, it’s likely you can recycle it.”
But if wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it or a texture to it, DeGrazia said it cannot be recycled. Tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows can’t be recycled either. He suggested unwrapping gifts carefully so the paper can be kept intact and unwrinkled to use again.
DeGrazia recommends composting tissue paper instead of recycling it.
“Tissue paper is usually already made from recycled paper, and it cannot be recycled into paper again,” he said. “To cut down on your need for wrapping paper, get creative by repurposing other items such as newspaper, blueprints, pillowcases or phone book pages.”