What happens to the Christmas trees picked up by the City of Windsor?

The day after Christmas, there was a story from the CBC called Nature Conservancy of Canada suggests a better fate for country’s Christmas trees which was largely a re-packaging of a news release from the Nature Conservancy earlier in the week. That press release begins:

If you’re taking down holiday decorations and thinking about ways to get rid of your Christmas tree, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has a suggestion. Instead of sending your tree to the landfill or getting it chipped up, the not-for-profit private land conservation group says there are benefits to putting it in your own backyard.

Dan Kraus, NCC’s senior conservation biologist, says leaving it in your backyard over the winter can help provide a home for bird populations trying to survive the tough weather. The tree will enrich your backyard ecosystems right away and it can also improve soil.

The first step in letting nature help you recycle your Christmas tree is to put it anywhere in the backyard, which often happens anyhow when we miss the municipal tree recycling pickup.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada suggests leaving your old Christmas tree in your backyard“, December 18, 2018

I was curious about the fate of the Christmas trees that are picked up by The City of Windsor and whether they were land-filled and contributing to the production of methane. So I asked the City’s 311 Service. They replied:

Christmas Trees that get collected on Yard Waste Day are broken down into Wood Chips and/or Recycled into Garden Gold Compost (link attached)  https://www.citywindsor.ca/residents/Waste-And-Recycling/Collection-Schedule/Documents/Garden%20Gold%20Compost.pdf

I decided not to press the matter and did not ask approximately what percentage of the collected trees end up as compost and how much as chips. I also didn’t immediately follow up with asking what exactly happens to the wood chips after they have been made since I assumed that they would be used by the City, for their trails, perhaps.

Instead, I decided to follow the advice of the NCC and The New York Times, and put our used Christmas Tree in our backyard. We don’t have much of a backyard so we are very much considering this an experiment.

When I was looking up when the Christmas tree pick up would begin for the city, I noticed that the garbage calendars are organized by Canadian Postal Code Forward Sortation Area (and they are available from the City of Windsor’s Open Data Catalogue).

I also learned that the City of Windsor recommends the use of the Recycle Coach app, which is available for both Android and iPhones. The Recycle Coach app is a product of Toronto based Municipal Media Inc. whose LinkedIn profile says that “the company pioneered the use of calendars as an effective tool to instruct and encourage residents on waste management issues and priorities.”

The Christmas Tree pickup for my neighbourhood is on Thursday, Jan 10, 2019.