Sadly, the holidays are over — nobody really counts New Year’s do they — which means if you’re like most people, you’re now trying to figure out what you’re going to do with your sad, lonely Christmas tree that no longer serves as the hub of gifts and mirth.

Surprisingly, there are a few pitfalls when it comes to Christmas tree disposal, and it’s best off if we collectively avoid them.

What Not to Do

So, for one thing, don’t toss your Christmas tree into the bayou or drainage ditch behind your house. Sure, one tree is not going to ruin the flow, but imagine if everyone did this. As we all know, Houston is prone to flooding, in part because of a slow drainage system. And that drainage system in some cases is slow because people keep throwing garbage in it. Don’t do that!

Another thing not to do is set it on fire. We know what you’re thinking: The tree is done being used, so why not chop it up and throw it in the fireplace? The thing is, it won’t burn very well, and won’t put off much heat. This is because firewood has to cure for about a year before it really does the job. Your Christmas tree has probably been dead for less than two months at this point; it’s not ready.

What To Do

The easiest option is to hang onto your tree until it’s large-waste collection day in your neighborhood, at which point you toss it on the curb with your broken furniture and let the trash collecters handle it. This will work. This is responsible behavior.

But there is an even better way.

That way is to recycle your Christmas tree. Yes, recycle it. Sadly, your old Christmas tree will not be turned into a new Christmas tree, but if you take it to one of Houston’s 18 dropoff sites, it will be broken down and converted into mulch known at Living Earth Houston Mulch, which you can then purchase and spread into your garden, knowing your tree will live on.