An unfortunate end that some Christmas trees face once the holidays are over begins with the sight of a garbage truck coming down your street whisking the trees away to a landfill somewhere. But there can be a different end to your tree’s story – a more sustainable one!

Don’t kick your tree to the curb quite yet! Try these five ways to reuse or recycle your Christmas tree instead of tossing it aside after the holidays.

1. Mulch – Chipping your old Christmas tree into mulch is among the most popular reuse methods. Mulch is an excellent fertilizer to use around shrubs or trees because it preserves soil moisture, moderates soil temperature, and releases nutrients into the soil as they start to decompose. Additionally, using mulch as a decorative lining for your pathways will release a fresh tree scent when stepped on for several months! You can rent a woodchipper and share with the neighbors or check for recycling resources in your community. Many municipalities offer a program where trees are shredded and chipped and then offered to the public for use in their landscapes.

2. Mini Wildlife Sanctuary – Set your tree up in the backyard and hang some feeders to attract birds and other small animals. DIY peanut butter and seed feeders are a great family project! You’ll be providing shade and an enriched nesting space for the wildlife in your area.

3. A Crafty Solution – You can get crafty with DIY tree coasters. Take your tree, saw small pieces from the main trunk, sand down, seal and voila! A new place to set down your cup of coffee. You can give these as presents or keep them in your home as rustic decorations.

4. Garden Frenzy – There are more uses for your old Christmas tree in your garden than you think. You can cut the trunk into small round pieces and use them to edge your flowerbeds and walkways or use larger pieces of the trunk as DIY tree stakes or trellises. Compost the branches for fertilizer and you’re done!

5. Just Recycle It – If none of these options seem like the right fit for you, then simply recycle your tree to the city you live in. Most municipalities have a tree pick-up week and composting program. It’s as easy as dropping your tree off at the curb with, for example, the right tag, in the right bag, or at the correct hour. Instead of setting it aside for the garbage truck, set it aside for the tree recycling team in your area!

When 2019 rolls around, take down the tinsel but don’t bag the tree. Use these sustainable methods instead and start the new year off right by being more tree friendly.