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Here's the actual best way to get rid of your Christmas tree

It's estimated that 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are purchased each year in the United States.

Christmas tree

Photo Credit: iStock

Christmas is over, your tree is turning brown, and it's time to get all those annoying pine needles off your floor. 

First things first — don't throw out your Christmas tree! 

It's estimated that 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are purchased each year in the United States, according to the Sierra Club, and millions of them end up in landfills needlessly.

Here's how to dispose of your tree properly.

First, remove any and all decorations from your tree.

Next, look for local recycling facilities that may offer curbside pickup or drop-off points for your tree, where it can be composted or mulched. 

One easy way to see what's available in your local area is to check out Earth911's "where to recycle" tab and search "Christmas tree." Type in your zip code and local options should pop up. 

If you want some bonus points, give your local pickup or drop-off organizer a call to make sure the trees aren't just going to the landfill.

When I called our local organization, I was bummed to learn that over the past several years, all our trees that we thought were getting mulched had been landfilled due to a lack of resources. So this year, we coordinated with our local nonprofit to make sure they had the equipment and funding to mulch them this year. 

If you have a green bin or a yard waste bin and you're ready to channel Paul Bunyon, you can also cut your tree into smaller pieces and put it directly in your yard waste collection bin. 

Some Home Depot stores will also take your Christmas tree and turn it into mulch — just be sure to call your local store before you haul it over. 

And then there's this from the Jollity Farm in Garden Valley, California — when all else fails, feed your tree to goats?! 

@kate_fs @ Jollity Farm in Garden Valley, California #recyclechristmastree #goatfarm #sustainable ♬ Cows Around - Corb Lund

For more great ideas, check out these tips from the National Christmas Tree Association.

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