Getting rid of your Christmas tree at the end of the season is sad enough as it is — why make it even worse by sending the tree to landfill where it'll release potent greenhouse gases? Shaun Wilkinson / Getty Images Even though Christmas trees are biodegradable, adding waste to a landfill creates an anaerobic environment that drastically decreases the flow of oxygen needed to break down trees, paper, and other materials that are considered biodegradable. So, without oxygen, your tree would take a long, long (read: long) time to break down, all the while adding to the methane emissions that are causing rapid climate change. Instead of tossing your tree in the trash, give it a new life through one of these recycling or composting options: 1. Put it out for curbside recycling. Xxcheng / Getty Images This is probably your best bet, since most local recycling programs collect trees during regular pickup schedules in the two weeks following Christmas, but check with your community's schedule to confirm. There are often other disposal requirements to check out beforehand too, like size limits, flocking, and removal of ornaments. Do your research, y'all. 2. Take it to a drop-off recycling center. Stratol / Getty Images As if you needed an excuse for another visit to Home Depot (they have so many great plants, OK!), many locations across the country offer Christmas tree recycling for free. Call your local store to find out if they're participating. If not, check if your town or city has any other public drop-off locations available. Usually, you can bring up to two trees to these sites at no cost. 3. Cut the tree to fit loosely in yard waste bags. Allkindza / Getty Images If your community collects yard waste curbside, break your tree down so it fits easily into a container or some tall brown paper bags and put it out on the designated pickup days. From there, the tree clippings will be sent to a facility where they're turned into compost. 4. See if your community has a tree mulching program. Aifeati / Getty Images Check with your local department of public works to see if there's one up and running near you. These programs chip and shred the trees, and then let you take home some mulch for your own garden, or spread the clippings in local parks, community gardens, hiking trails, and even beaches to help build sand dunes and restore coastlines after hurricanes. 5. Make an appointment to have a non-profit in your area pick up the tree. Imagepixel / Getty Images Organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America often collect Christmas trees locally, which gives you an opportunity to make a donation to them at the holidays too, and some smaller nonprofits near you may do the same. 6. Bring it to your local composting site, or use it to start your own compost pile. Baloncici / Getty Images You can find out if your local compost drop-off location is accepting Christmas trees or, if you have your own outdoor bin, those tree branches will actually make an ideal base since they'll allow some airflow at the bottom of the pile. Snap branches off, trim them so they fit inside the bin, and then layer them four to six inches high. From there, you can add food scraps and other organics on top like usual. 7. Prop it up in your garden or backyard to create a bird feeder and sanctuary. Nataba / Getty Images You can scatter food like sunflower seeds, peanuts, and fruit slices on the tree to attract some birds, and then they can perch on the branches for shelter. If you want to look out for your backyard bunnies too, place the tree on its side so they have access to some cozier shelter. Over the next several months, the branches will become brittle, allowing you to break the tree down by hand or put it through a chipper. Make sure you remove all decorations, hooks, garland, and tinsel before placing it outside so those critters don't hurt themselves — then, your lil' animal inn will be open for business.*extremely Ina Garten voice* How cute is that? Get more from Goodful on Instagram and YouTube!