Throw a Christmas tree for charity: novel recycling routes


While local authorities have begun a mass shredding of Christmas trees, some novel alternatives for disposal are available in parts of the country.

The second annual Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship will take place at Lees Road Sports Amenity Park, Ennis, Co Clare, today.

Organised by Ennis Town Council and Clare County Council, the event will raise money for the Clare branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland.

Each participant will get three attempts at throwing their tree. The competition record stands at 7m, while the world record, set at an event in Germany in 2010, is 12m. Standard 1.5m trees are used and the council has said it would welcome a donation to charity from anyone who wishes to drop their tree at the contest. It has also organised free recycling at other locations around the county.

Scientist Fran Igoe has called on people in the Cork-Kerry border region to bring their used trees to the James O’Keeffe Centre in Newmarket, Co Cork. The trees will be used to shore up the banks of the upper Blackwater river, an important area of conservation that has been rapidly eroding.

Spawning grounds

Soil and gravel from the erosion has been clogging the spawning grounds of the wild salmon and was also affecting freshwater mussels.

An experiment by Dr Igoe, along with the Kanturk trout angling club, found pinning old Christmas trees to willow stakes not only slowed the erosion but created a new habitat.

“As the river rises, the branches of the trees stick out into the water effectively slowing the water down along the edge of the river,” Dr Igoe said.

As the water slows, suspended soil and organic material is actually deposited on the trees pinned to the river bank. This in time builds up and the river bank can then be planted with trees and bushes which help stabilise the bank and provide further protection against erosion.”

Dr Igoe asked those donating trees to remove tinsel and fairy lights first.

Dublin Zoo will not be accepting used Christmas trees to feed baby elephants, despite rumours on Twitter. These followed an episode of BBC programme QI, hosted by Stephen Fry which suggested elephant calves like Christmas trees.

Gerry Creighton, operations manager at Dublin Zoo, said old Christmas trees that have been dressed with decorations and lights and have been sitting in homes for the Christmas period would pose a potential health threat to the animals.

Most local authorities have made facilities available for recycling Christmas trees.

Recycling options: Where to go

Dublin City Council will accept trees until January 19th at centres including Windmill Road in Crumlin, the Clontarf car park on Clontarf Road, Gulistan Terrace in Rathmines, Albert College car park in Glasnevin, Pigeon House Road in Ringsend, Milltown, the car park at Martello Tower, Strand Road, Sandymount.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown: up to Sunday, January 13th, at locations including Cabinteely Park and Killiney Hill car parks and Mount Anville parks depot in Goatstown.

Fingal County Council: 18 locations up to January 18th, including Bath Road and Ball Alley car parks in Balbriggan and Lusk, the operations depot at Watery Lane, Swords, Santry Demesne car park, and Harbour car park in Howth and Coolmine parks depot in Blanchardstown.

There are 21 centres accepting trees in the South Dublin County Council area including Beechpark open space in Lucan, Gelnaulin Park in Palmerstown, Rathfarnham Castle Park car park, Quarryvale Park in Clondalkin, Raheen open space in Tallaght and Limekiln car park, Tymon Park, Greenhills.

Cork City Council centres include Ballinlough Park, Kinsale Road and the car park in Lee Fields on the Carrigrohane Road.

Cork County Council has 12 facilities including at Castletownbere waste transfer station, Bandon civic amenity centre in Knockaveale, civic amenity centres at Codrum in Macroom, Quartertown Industrial Estate in Mallow and Rossmore in Midleton.

Galway County Council will accept trees from Monday, January 7th, until the 14th at 14 sites including the waste water treatment plant, Prospect, in Athenry, Canal Drive in Ballinasloe, Ball Alley, Beach Road, Clifden, and the council yard, Portumna.

Limerick City Council is offering recycling at Watch House Cross, Kileely, Moyross and Park Road depot in Rhebogue.

Sligo County Council will offer the service at the greenwaste facility, Union Road, Ballisodare, the Greenstar centre, Deepwater Quay, in Sligo town and the civic amenity centre at Tubbercurry.

See recyclemore.ieor your local authority website.