How does a Christmas tree become energy?

The Christmas trees decorating our homes year by year can be more useful for mankind than you have ever imagined. At the end of the holidays, after a preferably ‘White Christmas’, these trees are often used to make furniture or to produce fuel for central heating systems. Let’s see how a Christmas tree becomes energy!
It is strictly forbidden in Romania to leave your Christmas tree on the streets. Local governments are sanctioning the individuals and legal entities with fines up to 5.000 RON, if they don’t leave their trees in the designated areas or near the garbage bins.

Tens of thousands of Christmas trees thrown away in the capital city ‘With all our efforts the amount of waste that can be recycled, increases from day to day’, said Radu Zincă, head of the Urban Society’s Street Sanitation Service of the capital.

The trees are collected from the streets and grounded with a special machine. The resulted wooden material is handed over to a company that aims the reintroduction of useable wastes into the cycle.  

The street sanitation company from Bucharest has a contract with one of the largest producers of raw material for furniture in our country: the Austrian company named Egger.  The trees collected in sector 6 are used for the production of PAL (particle) boards and OSB boards (Oriented Strand Board) in the factories from Rădăuţi and Suceava.
PAL boards are used on a large scale in furniture production; OSB boards are used for cladding roofs and walls. The Austrians aimed for even more and they managed to get out the most of what a pine tree has to offer. The wood residues and the sawdust created when manufacturing OSB boards are used as fuel for the CHP systems.

The largest biomass plant in Romania is in Rădăuţi and supplies electricity and heat for all the operations of the Egger factory. In Austria, the parent company has created a plant which provides heat and electricity for 300 homes in the Tyrolean town of Sankt Johann.

The Christmas trees are not only used in the wood processing industry. They are also used as bio fertilizer for plants. In the capital, the Lakes and Parks Administration (ALPAB) is performing its own campaign for collecting the Christmas trees from the streets. The collected trees are being chopped at the processing station for plant materials and the resulting compost is used as fertilizer for flowers, shrubs and ornamental plants planted in parks and greenhouses under their administration. From about 25.000 pine trees collected after the Christmas holiday, ALPAB produces about 12 tons of compost.