Trafalgar Christmas tree sets recycling example

Londoners have been reminded to recycle their Christmas rubbish after Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron took the lead by recycling the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.

With the help of Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas, Ms Gavron shredded the 29-metre Christmas tree in a chipping machine so that it could be made into compost. Mr Thomas also took part of the tree to the Blue Peter garden to be chipped there.

As part of the Recycle for London campaign (see related story), shredding the tree is hoped to encourage Londoners to recycle their own Christmas trees, wrapping paper, cards, tins and glass jars, and even unwanted clothes.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has already been the greenest ever, according to Ms Gavron. It was powered for a week using a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces no greenhouse gas emissions, and used only energy efficient light bulbs.

“We are now making it even greener by recycling the tree,” she said. “It will be used as compost in one of London’s major squares and in the Blue Peter garden.”

Ms Gavron said she hoped that recycling the tree would prompt Londoners to recycle their own rubbish left over from the festive season.

“Recycling services have improved dramatically across London’s boroughs, making it much easier to get recycling,” she continued. “In the UK alone we buy about six million Christmas trees and one billon Christmas cards, which often end up in the bin. We need to make 2005 the greenest year yet for London.”

Christmas cards can currently be taken to WH Smith and Tesco stores to be recycled in support of the Woodland Trust. Clean clothes, bed linen and towels can be taken to charity shops or clothing banks.

According to government figures, the recycling of glass jars and bottles usually increases over the Christmas period by up to 30%. However, it is estimated that up to one billion Christmas cards will end up in bins this year – laid back to back, these would span from London to Sydney and back again over five times.

London recycled 11% of its household waste in 2002/03, and the national target for recycling municipal waste for 2005/06 stands at 25%.

To find out about local facilities for recycling Christmas trees, please visit:

By Jane Kettle

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