the family sat blissfully under the decorated Christmas tree. But a few days later, the fir tree makes the Branches hang and the needles fall. By then, the tree needs to come out. In Germany alone, about 27 million per year for fir trees served discarded – a waste of my British researchers. You have several ideas on how the trees could still use.

The University of Sheffield has developed a method to win from the needles of raw materials, which are used in sweeteners or colors. According to the researchers, fir needles are 85 percent of a complex Polymer, the so-called Lignocellulose. The Problem: the complexity of The Polymers, do the needles unattractive for many industrial processes and the production of energy through biomass.

glucose, acetic acid and Phenol

“My research is focused on the Decomposition of this complex structure into simple, high-quality industrial chemicals such as sugar and phenolic resins,” explains Cynthia Kartey, a doctoral student at the University of Sheffield. With the aid of heat and solvents such as glycerol, which is cheap and eco-friendly, going to needles the chemical structure of the jaw in a liquid product and a solid by-product is decomposed.

The liquid containing glucose, acetic acid and Phenol. These chemicals are used in many industries – glucose in the production of sweeteners for food, acetic acid for the manufacture of inks, adhesives and vinegar.

myth or medicine, you Can sleep too long?

other researchers have developed ideas of how pine needles can industrial use. In the past year, researchers at the British University of Bath, presented, for example, a method from the essential Oils of pine needles plastic. However, the idea is less about the recycling of Christmas trees. The raw materials, so-called Pinene, according to the researchers, especially as a by-product in the paper industry.

How do you get rid of your tree

Still, the ideas of the researcher are not applied on a large scale. If you want to get rid of your unwanted Christmas Tree, you have several possibilities: In many municipalities, the waste collects dissipation, the trees on certain days. Some of these end up in biomass power stations and to electricity or district heat. According to the environmental protection organization WWF the energy of Berlin’s Christmas trees is enough to supply about 500 households a year with electricity and heat.

In some cities are fed old Christmas trees to the zoo animals. However, this must be untreated and free of jewelry. In most cases, be fed, therefore, only trees, the pine seller has not got rid of.

dispose of The unpopular Christmas tree in the nature or to stuff in the garbage, on the other hand is not a good idea, as they rot slowly. According to the WWF, it would be better to burn the tree, for example, in the fireplace. Homeowners should inform themselves in advance whether your chimney is suitable.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.