With the Christmas season over, it's time to take that tree out of the house and onto the curb. But what really happens to trees after they've left our living rooms.
In North Andover, old Christmas trees will be chopped into chips for mulch and compost. The town's department of public works estimates that they will chop one to two thousand trees this season alone.
"We use it in some of our composts, when we’re doing our loam, mixing up our loam. We’ll use it in some of our beds," said DPW director Bruce Thibodeau, "and then ofcourse the residents can come up free of charge to get the chips."
Chips can be picked up from the on Sharpeners Pond Road by the athletic fields. Chips are free to residents.
Debate continues over whether real trees are environmentally friendly. Real tree advocates say tree farms add significant amounts of Oxygen to the atmosphere, and also provide habitats for local animals.
And the recycling of trees has come a long way. Years ago, trees would simply be burned at the end of the year. Now, most communities find some way of recycling their trees.
In Seattle Washington, even tree roots are recycled. They carve the thick roots into baskets, candle holders, and other decorative items.
Still, other studies have shown that longer-lasting artificial trees are better for the environment over the long term.
Despite possible negative environmental impacts, some people say they could never go without the real thing.
"I just have a hard time with anything artificial, that’s why I get a real tree," said Trudy Millar from North Andover.
"Definitely real," said Ben Studer who picked out a tree from , "We don’t get one every year, so when you do, you want the whole full experience with the smell and decorating the tree."
The town will begin picking up trees immediately after the new year. They urge residents to put them out that week. The town will not pick up trees with lights or ornaments. The best thing is to leave your tree completely bare. Wreaths will not be accepted because of the wire used to link them together.