British Columbia

Christmas tree recycling program at UBC Botanical Garden supports budding gardeners

The trees are chipped into mulch that is then used for the garden trails of the UBC botanical garden.

Proceeds help elementary school children learn gardening skills

Trees can be dropped off for recycling in the parking lot of the UBC Botanical Garden until Jan. 9, 2022. (Shawn Foss/CBC)

With no shortage of options for disposing of your Christmas tree, the UBC Botanical Garden is hoping to attract people wanting to donate to a cause that introduces the benefits of growing plants to a new generation. 

Proceeds from this year's tree chipping at the UBC Botanical Garden will go toward a school gardening initiative at Thunderbird elementary, "a school located in East Vancouver with a high percentage of vulnerable students and families," according to the garden's website. 

Patrick Lewis, director of the UBC Botanical Garden, says the program — coordinated by the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation — teaches students how to grow their own food, which also builds confidence.

"There's a sense of pride and excitement that people get when they see something that they've planted in the ground actually turn into something that's edible," he said. 

Lewis estimates that the Christmas tree initiative raises between $600 and $800 each year.

This year, some of the funds will go toward providing Thunderbird elementary with new garden boxes. 

Trees can be dropped off in the parking lot of the botanical garden daily between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. until Jan. 9. The suggested minimum donation is $5. 

Decorations, including tinsel, must be removed before donating trees. 

The trees themselves are reused in a different form. Lewis said they are chipped into mulch and then used to coat the trails at the botanical garden.

Lewis said various organizations lend them tree chippers to help keep up with a high volume of trees. 

Other tree disposal options

Also in Vancouver, you can take your Christmas tree to one of four Lions Club tree chipping events on Saturday, Jan. 8 and Sunday, Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The Recycling Council of British Columbia offers a comprehensive list of tree disposal options for all regions of British Columbia.