A pilot action for agro-forest product (Christmas trees in particular) aiming at recycling and recovering by transforming them into wood chips
Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Agencies of Central Macedonia in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy implemented a pilot action with the slogan "No Christmas tree in landfill". Its scope was the conversion of Christmas trees into wood chips, as it is a secondary raw material for pellets, biofuels and chipboards manufacturing as well as a potentially added material in organic waste composting process. To support this initiative, once the pilot action announcement was published the operators of the landfill banned the disposal of Christmas trees on-site.
Citizens’ were called to transport their trees in 6 identified municipal disposal points. In case this was not possible (due to own means unavailability), they could notify the authority to collect them from municipal bins location through customized collection routes. Regular waste collection routes notified the appointed Christmas trees collection staff in case they noticed disposed trees in municipal bins.
Responsible personnel was also appointed by the municipality to remove the trees' wooden or other bases, since metal nails could damage the shredding equipment. The shredding was undertaken by the municipal authorities in cooperation with Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Agencies of Central Macedonia and appropriate private sector contractors and was conducted in 3 individual days (start, middle, end of January 2019).

Resources needed

- 6 bulky waste containers: 2(owned by municipality) & 2(rented) & 2(donated)
- 1 open municipal truck (3 routes/day to transfer the trees to be shredded & 3 routes/day to transfer wood chippers to forest area)
- Personnel: 10
- Equipment: 1 wood chipper
- Funding: 0 (municipalities’ own means)

Evidence of success

Totally 3 t of Christmas trees corresponding to 2800 items were shredded instead of being disposed in the municipal landfill. Then chips were dispersed to forest areas pinpointed by the Association. For the upcoming year (2020) the Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Agencies of Central Macedonia will implement the action again and this time use the shredded material for pellets manufacturing. Part of the financial return will be provided to vulnerable local social groups.

Difficulties encountered

The pilot action scope and the disposal points were announced rather late, yet it was highly disseminated to increase the number of citizens’ that would respond to the recovery call. For the upcoming 2019 call the communication of the action is planned to take place earlier to increase participation

Potential for learning or transfer

The action was implemented in cooperation with the Hellenic Ministry of Energy and Environment, bearing high expectations that the good example set will be followed by other (Hellenic or not) regions as well.

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Main institution
Regional Association of Solid Waste Management Agencies of Central Macedonia
Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Greece (Ελλαδα)
Start Date
January 2019
End Date


Stamatia Kontogianni Please login to contact the author.