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How to dispose of your Christmas tree in Brussels
As the festive season draws to a close, there are several ways to safely dispose of - or give a new lease of life to - your Christmas tree.
In Wallonia, discarded Christmas trees are often tossed on a giant bonfire which is lit at the start of Lent, a 1,000-year-old carnival tradition to chase away the winter spirits. But here are some more environmentally friendly options in Brussels.
Put it out with your garden waste
Bruxelles-Propreté, the region's waste collection agency, will pick up a Christmas tree left outside your home on your regular garden waste (green bag) collection day.
The tree should not be put out on the pavement until the day itself, and all decorations and pots must be removed. Only natural trees will be collected to be composted.
Artificial trees are not recyclable - so they should not be put out with the blue plastic waste. Instead, they are considered bulky household waste and they should either be taken to a Recypark dump, or you can call Bruxelles-Propreté and ask for it to be picked up for you. This counts towards your three-cubic-metre free allowance of oversized household waste per year.
Donate it for replanting
In recent years, the non-profit organisation Bûûmplanters has asked Brussels residents to donate their trees for replanting.
Bûûmplanters is a non-profit that provides trees to residents to plant on their own properties and also accepts donations of trees and shrubbery to replant. Anyone bringing them a Christmas tree typically gets a small fruit tree or fruit shrub in return.
Keep an eye on the Bûûmplanters Facebook page for details of this year's collection in the coming weeks. Donations of trees are generally open to residents of Brussels-City, Schaerbeek, Molenbeek, Jette and Saint-Josse. The trees must have roots and be planted in a bucket of earth. If the tree survives, residents have the option of picking it up next year to be used again as their Christmas tree.
Replant it yourself
If you have a big enough garden and you have kept the tree's roots damp all season long, one option is to replant your tree and reuse it next year. Plant it on a frost-free day, make sure the roots are moist and add potting soil.
Removal service Dwump is offering a €10 Christmas tree pickup service. "You could burn it, like the Belgians do, or throw it on the street like many in Brussels do, or you can do it in a civilised way," the firm says. "We'll take care of it, responsibly."