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Those dreaming of a white Christmas might take part within the custom of flocking — spraying the Christmas tree with a pretend snow substance so it appears to be like extra like winter.
But when you bought an actual Christmas tree this winter and determined to have it put on white after Labor Day, you’re going to be in for a shock when it’s time to eliminate it. Flocked bushes are hardly ever accepted for recycling.
What Is Flocking?
Flocking itself has a long history, however turned in style within the Fifties when General Mills offered the Sno-Flok package. The approach is hottest in areas that don’t get snow within the winter, such because the West Coast and Southern U.S.
As for what goes in every can of flocking spray, that relies on the producer. If it is available in an aerosol can, it’s likely a mix of fatty acids plus chemical emulsifiers, binders, solvents, and propellants. Some firms make flocking spray out of paper and corn starch fairly than fatty acids.
Other than aesthetics, there are just a few advantages to flocking a Christmas tree. Flocking spray incorporates flame retardants, which reduces the chance of your tree catching hearth. The tree may even take longer to dry out, which means you received’t must water it as a lot. The flocking spray even acts as an adhesive, serving to to stop needles from falling to the ground.
You may also search round Pinterest and discover loads of choices for creating your personal flocking spray utilizing cleaning soap flakes, laundry detergent, or glue. While this may occasionally obtain your required “snowy” tree look, you received’t obtain the extra advantages talked about above.
Disposal of Flocked Trees
After New Year, most individuals look to eliminate their Christmas tree. The hottest choice is treecycling, the place municipalities accumulate bushes by way of curbside pick-up or at occasions, and mulch them, compost them, or toss them in a physique of water for habitat restoration.
For all of those environmentally pleasant disposal choices, the tree breaks down into its natural elements. With flocked bushes, a non-organic part has been launched that impacts this course of. Understandably, most tree recyclers don’t wish to threat including dangerous chemical compounds to their mulch, compost, or wildlife habitats.
However, you’ll sometimes discover cities that settle for flocked bushes. In these instances, the temperature of the compost facility the place the bushes are taken is excessive sufficient to interrupt down flocking spray, much like how some business composters are capable of break down bioplastic luggage. But that’s not the case with nearly all of business composting services within the U.S.
However, generally, when you flock your tree, it’s secure to imagine you received’t be capable to recycle or compost it on the finish of its life.
When to Flock
So let’s say you miss these Midwest winters and flocked bushes present the proper reminder of dwelling. Do you actually need a flocked tree? Consider shopping for and flocking a synthetic Christmas tree.
Artificial bushes are usually not recyclable, as they’re made out of PVC plastic and sometimes stabilized with lead. If you spray a synthetic tree with synthetic flocking, it is going to final a number of years earlier than you ultimately must throw it away. You’ll get 5 to seven white Christmases earlier than it leads to a landfill, versus one with a flocked actual Christmas tree.
If you’re on the lookout for a extra sustainable Christmas tree, learn 4 Ways to Have the Greenest Christmas Tree.
Originally revealed on December 21, 2017, this text was up to date in December 2021.