Appeal to recycle London Christmas trees

London's iconic Christmas tree has been recycled as city officials launched a campaign encouraging residents and businesses to think green when they deal with festive waste.

The chipping of the Trafalgar Square tree marked the launch of a city-wide recycling campaign

The chipping of the Trafalgar Square tree marked the launch of a city-wide recycling campaign

The 22-metre Norwegian spruce, which has been stood in Trafalgar Square for several weeks, has been shredded and composted.

Recycle for London is now urging Londoners to turn their own Christmas trees into useful material for gardening and not to slip into bad habits when they clear up other festive rubbish.

It is estimated that most of the 976,000 real trees which have been on display in the capital's homes and workplaces will be thrown away instead of being recycled.

This year, all London boroughs are running schemes to recycle Christmas trees, and nearly two-thirds of the authorities are offering a service to collect them from homes.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "Currently Londoners recycle less than a quarter of their rubbish, but we can actually do much more.

"I hope the chipping of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree will encourage Londoners to think about how they dispose of their own trees and other rubbish like old cards and wrapping paper, left over from Christmas.

"If we don't recycle, our rubbish gets tipped into landfill sites, which are fast running out, or it gets burnt, adding to our contribution to climate change."

London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi, who helped to recycle the tree, said: "While London's recycling rate is improving, we could all be doing much more to help increase it even further.

"I hope today's recycling of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree will encourage Londoners to make a greener start to 2008. The post-festive season is a great time to begin new habits."

London residents and businesses can find out more about recycling services in their area by visiting the Recycle for London website, call 0845 331 3131 or text RECYCLE and a full postcode to 63131.

Kate Martin

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