BUFFALO, N.Y. — Real Christmas trees can be a beautiful part of your holiday décor.
Now that their time to shine is over though, what to do with them?
At Let’s Goat Buffalo, Christmas is cool, but it’s the days that follow when the real presents get delivered.
“They love most anything green from about 6 inches off the ground to about 6 feet off the ground, they're going to take down,” said Jennifer Zeitler, the owner of Let's Goat Buffalo.
As you might imagine, Christmas trees fit the bill perfectly.
“They go right through it,” explained Zeitler. “It’s a dessert, it’s a treat for sure.”
Last year, a Christmas tree drive at Let's Goat Buffalo took in around 30 trees. The goats went through about one a day.
“What we have here is a bit of a tree graveyard and you can see just exactly how much they clean off the trees,” Zeitler said, gesturing to a pile of former Christmas trees, stripped of all their greenery.
This year, they’re doing it again. From Dec. 28 to Jan. 15, you can drop off trees at the parking lot at 5445 East Creek Road in South Whales.
If you come on Jan. 9, volunteers with leadership Buffalo will be on hand to introduce you to the goats themselves and hand out hot chocolate.
“Our goats will eat them, get nutrients for themselves, but then they also give that nutrient back to the soil which increases biodiversity and kind of gives your tree that extra oomph for the planet,” Zeitler explained.
Christmas tree oomph is something Bradley Paxton, the owner of Rocky Top Trees, knows all about.
“We're actually going to start interplanting the little seedlings in between each one of these big trees with the idea that in a few years, these trees will be gone,” he explained, walking through rows of larger Christmas trees.
He’s looking to start selling trees from his property in two years.
There's about 8,000 trees on the property and 1,500 new ones are planted each year.
“They're pretty much nature's recyclers and filters of the air," Paxton said. "So with more of them, it does nothing but help the environment.”
He is doing his part to be sustainable, even using recycled Christmas trees to improve the soil.
“I till it in there and then we plant the new batch for the year," said Paxton. "It's kind of a circle of life almost.”
So before your tree ends up in a landfill or incinerator, consider your local options, whether recycling for mulch or becoming a goat’s lunch.
You can help the earth and keep the Christmas tree business going for years to come.
Many areas do recycle trees put on the curb. Check with yours to see if that’s an option.
If you want to help feed the goats, just make sure your tree doesn’t have any hooks, ornaments, fake snow or coloring on it.