Can I burn the Christmas tree in the fireplace or in the garden?

After the holidays at the end of the year, many of us do not know what to do with the Christmas tree. It quickly becomes cumbersome. Are you planning to burn your tree in the garden or in the fireplace? Are you authorized to do these practices by law? Our answers.

If French law strictly prohibits open burning of green waste, it is different for burning in a fireplace.

Can I burn my Christmas tree in my garden?

Fir is green waste. Just like dead leaves or grass clippings.

The law is thus formal: it is forbidden to burn all green waste in your gardenincluding your Christmas tree. Either by incineration in the open air or using a specific device such as a garden incinerator (Article L541-21-1 of the Environmental Law; Article 84 of the Ministerial Health Regulations).

Note down : green waste and food waste are biological waste. Both are subject to the Ministry’s health regulations.

Why is it forbidden to burn conifers in your garden?

The general ban on burning green waste is governed by several reasons:

– The resulting combustion is released toxic substances for humans and the environment: particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC) or even dioxins.

– The risk of fire is too great. Fir wood and its needles burn very quickly.

– THE it smells AND fumes can make the neighborhood uncomfortable.

Are there any exceptions to the ban on burning Christmas trees?

Yes, but these exemptions are regulated and limited.

Your municipality may grant a general exemption if there is no other way to dispose of green waste. In other words, burning must be the only possible action to get rid of the tree. For example, if you do not have access to a nearby recycling center or if no selective collection is organized.

In very exceptional circumstances, the prefect can also grant individual exemptions if health problems are noted : harmful organisms or invasive plants. Then you need to contact the regional food service of the Regional Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Forestry (DRAAF). Which doesn’t seem to apply to your Christmas trees.

What are the risks of burning your Christmas tree in your garden?

The disposal of green waste by burning it in the open, for example in a garden or in an incinerator, is punishable by a fine determined for the violation of Article 4.E class (Article R541-78 of the Environment Act). I.e Maximum 750 euros.

Your neighbors may file an abnormal nuisance lawsuit based on olfactory nuisances. Smoke and odors emanating from a burning tree can disturb your surroundings.

They can also alert the hygiene services at your town hall.

Finally, burning your Christmas trees in the first place poses a fire risk that can be dramatic.

Can I burn my tree in my fireplace?

Although there is no law against you burning your festive tree in your fireplace, it is still strongly discouraged.

The Christmas tree is part of the conifer family. Softwoods are less dense than hardwoods. Therefore, they burn faster and have a faster temperature rise than the others. Their calorific value is lower.

Although it is not recommended to use softwood logs for heating, you can still use small pieces of wood or your fir needles to light the fireplace.

How to properly dispose of a Christmas tree?

Recycle your green waste and give it a second life.

You can opt for one of the ecological solutions below:

  • Natural decomposition in place.
  • Replanting.
  • Grinding: cut the fir into pieces.
  • Mulching: spreading crushed fir on cultivated land to protect, enrich or regulate its temperature.
  • Composting: add fir pieces to the compost to fertilize the soil.
  • Energy use: the municipality burns fir trees and uses the heat produced in the municipal boiler room.

You can also take it to a recycling center or store that provides recycling.

Some municipalities offer collection points in parks for the production of mulch. Ask your town hall for more information.

Burning of the festive tree, something not to be forgotten

You are not allowed to burn a Christmas tree in the garden in January and at any time of the year. Including the use of a specific incinerator.

There are several reasons for this ban: protection of the environment, your health and the health of your neighbors. But also to prevent a fire.

On the other hand, the law does not prohibit you from burning a tree in the fireplace and using it as firewood. Note, however, that this procedure is not recommended for softwoods.

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