Crikey intern Grace Ryan writes: Choosing which type of Christmas tree is environmentally friendly is not an easy task.

On one hand there is the fake tree which is made up of PVC and steel and on the other there is the pine Christmas tree which grows for 12 years, dies in your home whilst covered in tinsel and releases methane into the environment when disposed of.

Don’t despair there is an answer: Christmas tree recycling, the environmentally safe way of disposing your tree.

The Sydney City Council is offering a free pick up of pine-Christmas trees every Wednesday between the 29th of December and the 19th of January. These trees will be made into compost once collected.

Sydney Council tells Crikey that this popular scheme has been going for several years.

At this point, Sydney is the only council picking-up the trees, but a Melbourne Council Representative said they may announce something closer to Christmas or post Christmas.

In Adelaide, nurseries will accept used trees although there is no pick-up available at this time and residents of Darwin are encouraged to take their trees to the Shoal Bay Waste Disposal Site so the trees can be disposed of correctly. Canberra, Perth and Brisbane councils do not take part in programs such as this at this time, while Hobart was not able to comment.

Christmas tree recycling turns the pine-tree into compost and prevents methane from entering the atmosphere. This concept is very common around the United States, with most states offering some kind of recycling method.

The Christmas tree takes 12 years to grow. They are renewable; they absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen. This type of tree also provides employment all year around. But it seems like a lot of effort for just a few weeks of Christmas cheer.

As far as live and artificial Christmas trees compare; the pine trees are much better for the environment. The artificial Christmas tree uses steel and the plastic known as PVC, which contains over a kilo of fossil fuels. As there is no place to recycle this tree, it will end up in the local dump.

Spread the Christmas cheer further this year, recycle your tree.

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