Genius new program uses goats to recycle Christmas trees

Dec 26, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. ET

What are you going to do with that Christmas tree now? It’s shedding needles and now that Christmas is over, it’s really nothing more than a fire hazard. Not to mention it's environmentally irresponsible just to chuck it outside to end up in a landfill, but what can you do?

Here's a much better idea. Vince Thomas, a Reno, Nevada-area volunteer firefighter, has developed a a totally genius solution: Feed the old Christmas trees to goats. It’s green, the goats are delighted, everyone wins.

Vince convinced the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District to partner up with a local goat-herding business, Goat Grazers, to get their goats busy eating up old trees. The goat Christmas tree-recycling program kicks off today.

"All the trees will be taken to the Truckee Meadows fire station in Washoe Valley, which has a lot more room for all them (sic)," Thomas told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Then, we'll toss them over the fence and let the goats have at them."

He explains that the goats eat all of the needles, leaving a clean tree skeleton. The trees can then be used as firewood. The pine needles are also high in vitamin C and actually healthy for the goats — another bonus.

One word of caution, though; before the goats get the trees, you have to double and triple check that they're are completely stripped of all of the ornaments, tinsel and other decorations, which could be harmful to the goats. And depending how much decoration goes into your Christmas tree, might not be worth the inspection time.

If you happen to live in the Reno area, here's more information on the goat Christmas tree-recycling program, including drop-off locations and volunteer opportunities.

Here’s hoping the program is a success and spreads to other areas. Sounds like a lovely way to put those dying Christmas trees to good use. Besides, who wouldn't feel good about a little goat generosity?

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