Recycled Christmas Trees Being Used to Rebuild Jersey Shore Sand Dunes?

Christmas Tree Recycle

Residents of New Jersey are coming in droves to recycle their Christmas trees at the Jersey shore this year.  Although recycling Christmas trees is a normal practice, recycling your festive pine at the Jersey shore allows your tree to keep on giving well after the Holidays. That’s because your old recycled Christmas trees are being used to rebuild the many sand dunes that were destroyed by Storm Sandy in October. I know! It sounded odd to me too, but apparently old Christmas trees are lined up along sand dunes to help them rebuild naturally. Christmas trees can be placed on their side end to end on the ground and naturally collect windblown sand over time. This creates a natural “fence” that traps sand, eventually burying the trees creating a small dune. Within a few months, the objects begin to take on the shape of a large sand dune that help protect the beach against heavy wave action from storms.  Dune grass can then be planted on top in about a year. It’s a method that has been practiced in the Southeastern states that are accustomed to having hurricanes and more in tune to the annual rebuilding of sand dunes each winter. Because so many Jersey shore cities are now strapped for cash, this “naturally” great idea will take place in many places along the Jersey Shore. For a more scientific and detail oriented explanation check out this article by Phillyblurbs.com

I bet you’d like to know how I stumbled upon this amazing concept.  So please give me your attention for a moment and I’ll explain.

During my daily nature walk through the beautiful Cattus Island Park, I happened to walk past a Christmas tree recycling area near the park office.  I stopped and thought about the whole idea of the Christmas tree. If you know me you would know that although the smell of a live tree is nice, I have a hard time getting behind the concept of growing a tree and then killing it just to keep in your home for a month to then toss it on the curb and stack our landfill with dead trees.  I recommend and prefer a nice American made artificial tree, which could be used for many years and generations. Now, if we can only figure out how to make those trees out of recycled poly materials. Maybe that’s my calling, to create a ecofriendly artificial Christmas tree?  Nah!

While standing there, I saw a woman struggling to get a giant Christmas tree from the back of her mini-van.  I ran over to help her with the tree and throw it on the recycling pile. While carrying the tree she said. “Isn’t wonderful what they are doing with these trees”? In my mind I’m think, “Yeah, amazing lady, they are going to make mulch with it and soak up mud puddles.” But what I actually said was “ yeah, you never have enough mulch” and pointed at the giant pile of mulch to our right. She chuckled and said “ No silly, this year all these trees are going to be used to line up along the beach to build sand dunes”.  So now I’m thinking, “Wow, that’s just great lady.  I’ve spent the last 2 months picking up tons of debris from the streets and beaches so we can just throw our old Christmas trees back on the beach? Besides I doubt a stack of Christmas trees is going to hold back the ocean if a giant pile of sand couldn’t do it.” But, of course I didn’t say that I just thought it and smiled. There had to be more to this concept and I was determined to hang around and find out.

I spoke to several folks who came in to drop off their trees over the next 20 minutes.  One guy told me that his home was spared because of the great sand dune system they had in place so he felt obligated to make sure his tree went to doing the same for others. Another women explained to me that she too never heard of this idea but because of the Internet, Facebook and Twitter she learned about it and thought it was an amazing idea. She told me that several grassroots groups, environmentalists, and towns have used social media and word of mouth to mount tree collection drives to aid towns up and down the Shore.

Now I had to run home and do some sand dune research because clearly I was missing out on something that is right in line with my interest. A sustainable, recyclable way to use something that was considered waste, to help nature do something that could protect the places I love. I couldn’t think of anything that is more EarthyUrban. So that’s why I decided to write a post about this brilliant idea. To me it’s not just about a great way for rebuilding New Jersey beaches or any beaches for that matter. Its more of the realization that all our fixes and needs of our environment already exist within nature. Of course we as humans need to put our recycled christmas trees in place, but if we didn’t need to clear natural beach barriers & dunes to build homes and frolic on the beach, then nature would heal itself without us.  It only seems fit that we have taken trees from the ground for our rituals that we should return them to the earth where they belong. It just happens to be extra sweet this time because it’s helping us restore a part of ourselves as well.


Whether you live in New Jersey or along any coast around the world this is something that you and your city can do. It gives second life to a tree that was killed to soon, sending it back to the earth to work hand in hand with mankind.

If you live on the Jersey Shore and are looking to recycle your Christmas tree for this purpose and read a more intelligent article :) on the subject please click here.4ee8f1ac2c0a7.preview-300

Places to Recycle your Christmas tree in NJ for The Sand Dune Project.


Thanks For taking the time to read this article. If you would please click and share on one of the social media platforms below, or leave a comment I would be most appreciative. I’ll definitely respond to you. Thanks, and Have a great 2013.

Category: Green

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