Wondering how to recycle your tree once Christmas has come and gone? Rest assured, “O Tannenbaum” has plenty of life left in those lovely branches once he’s finished sprucing up your home. The National Christmas Tree Association is a great resource for all of us eco-minded types who want to make sure our trees stay green after the ornaments come off.

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For those of you pondering whether you did the right thing by buying a real tree as opposed to an artificial one, you can finally put the debate behind you with the knowledge that real trees are clearly the more eco-friendly choice. Learn why artificial trees should be avoided when it comes to holiday decor.

Last year, even the Vatican went green by recycling the Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square by using its wood to make toys for children. I was surprised to hear about a variety of other, less obvious ways to recycle Christmas trees, such as making vaccines and using trees for dune restoration.

When you’re ready to recycle your tree, visit Earth911.com to locate a Christmas tree recycling program, pick-up or drop-off location in your area. All you need to do is enter your zip code to be directed to your nearby options.

Plan ahead for next Christmas and consider renting a tree from The Living Christmas Tree Company if you’re in the Portland area. They’ll plant it when your finished enjoying it, so it may live for many years to come. Or opt for the Cardboard Christmas Tree, which is affordable, chic, reusable, and do-gooding — as sales benefit the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees for America Program.

+ National Christmas Tree Association

+ Earth911.com

+ The Living Christmas Tree Company