The festive period is over, the decorations are down and packed away but what should you do with your old Christmas tree?
Once stripped of their tinsel and baubles, most Christmas trees end up in landfill or are ground up as chippings but how about donating yours to a local zoo? No really… according to zookeepers, the cut trees are loved by the lions and provide them with hours of fun.
It is thought that the lions love playing with the trees as they contain catnip, sometimes known as catmint, a plant of the mint family which can bring out euphoric behaviour in many cats.
As well as being recycled as playthings, others are used in the zoo’s bio-burner to provide additional heating for the buildings.
Christmas trees are also being recycled as flood defences. The Environment Agency and some councils are using the unwanted trees to protect riverbanks and coastlines from erosion.
Trees donated by the Forestry Commission in Cumbria are drilled to riverbanks to help slow the force of the river, preventing erosion and reducing flood risks. The needles help to filter the silt carried by the river, while the branches provide protection for wildlife.
Along the coast near Blackpool, old Christmas trees are planted across the beach to provide natural flood defences. The trees help to protect the local properties by encouraging dunes to form, creating natural barriers against coastal flooding.
To find out more about Christmas tree recycling in your area, contact your local authority.