Go “Real” Green This Holiday

November 17, 2021

Evergreen trees are a staple for many holiday celebrations. And while most families choose between a real or an artificial tree, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which is the best option for you and your family. If recycled after the holidays, real trees are the best option for many reasons—besides making your home smell amazing.

Most artificial trees and their packaging are made of plastic and often need to be replaced every few years, causing a larger carbon footprint from their production. If you do already have an artificial tree, it is best to keep using it for as long as possible and then explore options that will help to keep it out of a landfill, like donating it to a local charity or senior home.

Real trees are often not packaged, and holiday tree farms provide many of the same benefits as area forests by cleaning the air and water, stabilizing land, reducing carbon, and more. Picking out the perfect real tree can also be a great outdoor family activity (cue the Christmas Vacation vibes)!

One of the other benefits of going with a real Christmas tree is that they are biodegradable, and you can recycle them at the end of the season. Since 2013, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility has offered a free Christmas tree recycling service and has taken in more than 2,000 Christmas trees from area residents and more than 20,000 trees from commercial businesses.

The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility will keep this holiday tradition going and offer the free Christmas Tree Drop-Off program from Monday, December 27, through Friday, January 28. Trees, garlands, and spruce tops that are recycled will be used to make mulch and compost in an environmentally responsible way.

The process is simple:

First, be sure to remove all non-compostable ornaments, tinsel, flocking, and other decorations from the organic items before dropping them off.

Next, visit the facility at 1905 Mystic Lake Drive South in Shakopee between December 27 and January 28, Monday through Friday, from 8am-3pm. Please note, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility will be closed on December 31, 2021, for New Year’s Eve and on January 17, 2022, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Finally, relax and enjoy the beginning of a great year—you’ve earned it!

As a Native American tribe committed to being a good steward of the earth and a good neighbor, the SMSC is proud to not only offer recycling programs throughout the year, but to also offer them at no cost to the public.