New Yorkers can even watch the process up close by bringing their trees to certain parks, where they may also choose to take the resulting mulch.
Some towns and cities offer other options. When Mr. Ulfelder was young, for example, his grandparents lived in a Massachusetts community where old trees were used to rebuild and support sand dunes at local beaches.
The same tactic was used in parts of New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy eroded as much as three to five feet of beach elevation, an official said at the time.
Elsewhere, trees are dropped to the bottom of lakes, creating artificial environments for fish.
“We place them on wooden pallet habitat structures to diversify the habitat, or sink just the trees themselves,” Ron Brooks, director of fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, said in a news release last year describing the practice.
The trees can also be stood up outside as makeshift habitats for birds, chipped for natural material to line hiking trails, or even replanted, if initially purchased with the roots intact.
Given the many ways to recycle your tree, experts said that anyone concerned about the environment can be sure to avoid disposing of it in a way that contributes little back to the earth.
“The main thing we try to get people to do is not have it end up in a landfill,” Dr. Cregg said.
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