Nothing symbolises Christmas better than the tree: decorated with baubles, tinsel and a crowning star or angel on top – with presents scattered underneath. Each year, people go out to buy real Christmas trees to adorn their houses or gardens, while others dig out artificial replicas and fibre optics from the confines of their attic. But what happens to Christmas trees across Nottinghamshire once the festive period is over? Jamie Barlow reports.
Traditionally, the Twelfth Night of Christmas is the date to take down Christmas decorations: January 5.
According to the Bible, the Twelfth Night was the evening before Epiphany, the day in the nativity story when the three wise men visited baby Jesus and gave him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
A long-time belief is that it is unlucky to leave decorations up after the festive period, concluded by the Twelfth Night, and that anyone who forgets to take them down must leave them in place all year to avoid misfortune.
Nottingham City Council will be on hand to collect real Christmas trees from Thursday January 5 as part of an annual recycling service which will run until Friday January 20.
A spokesperson said: “We will be collecting approximately 1,400 real Christmas trees from the kerbside, this is a free collection we offer to city residents.”
Once collected, the trees will be taken to the Oxton Composting Site at Grange Farm, in Ollerton Road, Oxton, where they will be shredded and composted.
“We advise residents to book early to avoid disappointment by phoning 0115 915 2000 as this is a limited opportunity,” the spokesperson added.
The collection is strictly for real trees, but the council offers another free service to collect city residents’ artificial counterparts at any point during the year.
This service can be booked by ringing the same telephone number, above, or by visiting the council’s website.
Nottinghamshire County Council, meanwhile, is encouraging people to donate real trees to raise money to help disabled children as part of its ‘Treecycle’ campaign.
The authority is working with Veolia Environmental Services, a Nottingham-based waste contractor, which will donate £100 for every 50 tonnes of trees collected by the council – breaking down as £50-per-tonne.
The money will go towards Portland College, a specialist educational establishment near Mansfield, which works with young people with disabilities to improve their employability, independence and communication skills.
The money raised from the campaign will pay for a new minibus to take students out and become involved in the local community – and people are encouraged to drop their trees off at the council’s main office at County Hall, West Bridgford.
Councillor Jim Creamer, chair of the environment and sustainability committee at the council, said: “It’s a very worthwhile cause. We encourage people to bring them in. Our closing date is February.
“We accept any trees received in January. Some people don’t like hanging on to them too long because needles drop off. If they can get them in before February it’ll be contributing to Portland College, the charity chosen by the council’s chairman Yvonne Woodhead.”
Last year, the council raised £1,000 for the Poppy Appeal charity.
The trees will be shredded and composted at the Oxton site as well as another in Doncaster – and the recycled trees will be used as soil at golf clubs.
The council is also calling for people to drop off their fibre optic trees because their LED lights and electrical components, made of copper and other metals, can be recycled.
Mr Creamer said: “A lot of people would think: ‘It’s an artificial fibre optic tree, just get rid of it’. There are recycling elements in them. Christmas lights can go to a recycling centre.
“The main tree can’t be recycled, but when they pull out the transformer, made of copper and other metals, there are elements in it worth recycling.”
Standard artificial trees can’t be recycled, but other Christmas items which can include fake snow and silly string, a plastic substance released as a stream of liquid from an aerosol can.