Old Christmas trees perform final service in green energy generation

Christmas trees being disposed of (photo is illustrative).
Christmas trees being disposed of (photo is illustrative). Source: PERH

Discarded Christmas trees are proving a source of recycling, in being used to create wood chippings – which in turn are used in energy generation, at a time of high input costs.

Olga Petrova, Marketing and Communications Manager at Utilitas energy group, said: "Recycling Christmas trees for energy has become a nice tradition, so this year we once again invited the districts to work together on the project, so that we can produce green energy for a green capital.

"In addition, recycling Christmas trees helps to keep yards and streets tidy, and supports a circular economy mentality," Petrova added.

The Mustamäe, Lasnamäe, Kristiine and Haabersti neighborhoods of Tallinn have joined in with the scheme, while SLG Energy OÜ converts the trees into wood chips, which Utilitas then uses.

Christmas trees brought to collection sites in the Nõmme, Kesklinna, Pirita and Põhja-Tallinn districts will also be used to produce heating, or electricity, in this way, the city government says.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm (SDE) said Christmas trees are a very effective raw material for making wood chips, while other uses for the expired, organic decorations include in landscaping, he said.

"I would urge everyone to take their old Christmas trees to the correct collection points, so that they don't simply litter the cityscape. If this is not possible, you can have them collected by your waste collector," Vimm said.

The city government has set up a total of 79 collection points across the capital, which can be found here (link in Estonian).

Residents unable to transport their tree to a collection point can arrange for collection from a local waste firm.

Regardless of whether residents use the collection point or the correct waste disposal site, all decorations etc. must be removed from the trees before disposal, in Tallinn, and nationwide.

Artificial decorations, and indeed artificial Christmas trees, can also be handed over to recycling centers or placed in mixed municipal waste bins, the city government says.

Christmas lights constitute electrical waste and should be taken to the corresponding waste collection point, or perhaps re-used next Christmas.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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