With Christmas 2010 now just a not-so-distant memory, it’s time for the obligatory “how do cities across the world handle discarded Christmas trees?” post. Last year, I blogged about San Francisco’s longstanding post-holiday chip-a-thon in front of City Hall where de-trimmed pines, firs, and the like are turned to mulch and sent to a special waste-to-energy facility where it’s used as fuel. This annual event is just part of a widespread “treecycling” program in a recycle-happy city with truly impressive landfill-avoidance rates.

Today, I move from the City by the Bay to the City of Light to spotlight a Christmas tree recycling program that directly benefits urban green spaces.

Since 2007, participating Parisians have hauled expired Christmas trees to 95 collection points located in parks and gardens across the city. Once dropped off, the trees are crushed and, according to Springwise, “used to enrich the soil in local parks, serving to restrict weeds and reduce evaporation.” The program has grown increasingly popular during its short existence: during the 2007-2008 post-holiday season, 15,000 Christmas trees were collected and recycled. In 2009-2010, 27,150 trashed tannenbaums were mulched and used to keep the living trees in neighborhood parks happy and healthy.

Head on over to the city of Paris website and check out the below video (both en français) to learn more about the program. Don’t live in Paris and want this year's Christmas tree to make an impact in its afterlife? Check out MNN’s handy-dandy guide to Christmas tree reuse

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

France's festive fir-to-fertilizer program
In Paris, old Christmas trees are collected and turned to mulch that fertilizes trees of the non-Christmas variety residing in city parks.