Christmas Tree Recycling and Disposal

Christmas Tree Recycling

The holidays are over, the presents are unwrapped and you have figured out how to recycle Christmas wrapping paper, but what about the Christmas tree recycling?

Unlike other items that you can reuse like wrapping paper and Christmas cards, you don’t have as many options when it comes to Christmas tree recycling.  BUT, you can do a few others things that are pretty cool and help the environment at the same time.

Before you recycle your tree, make sure you remove all decorations including tinsel.  Your tree will not be accepted for recycling if you do not do this.  Artificial trees cannot be recycled in any form.  They must be thrown away.

Christmas Tree Recycling and Disposal

  • If you have a pond or know someone that does, trees that are sunk into them make a great refuge and feeding area for the fish
  • Lots of us don’t have wood chippers, but chances are you know someone who does.  Have them chip up your tree and use it as mulch
  • Trees placed in the corners of your yard, maybe leaned amongst other trees or placed in your garden can be used by birds as a sanctuary.  You could also place a bird feeder within the branches. Eventually, the tree will start to break down and you can chop it up or chip it for mulch
  • Contact your local or state park services to see if they accept your trees for Christmas tree recycling.  A lot of parks will use them to line pathways and allow them to degrade naturally.  Contact the National Park Service for information
  • If you live in a community near a river or lake, they sometimes use the trees as barriers for soil erosion.  Contact your local town council or environmental protection division for information.
  • Live trees purchased with the ball or roots containerized, can obviously be replanted (and should be).  If you decide you will be buying a tree that you plan to replant, dig the hole for it BEFORE it becomes too hard to dig.  The tree will need to be replanted immediately after Christmas

If none of the above options work for you, do not just throw your tree in the garbage can. Use one of these options instead:

  • Most towns have specific pickup dates for those wanting to recycle their tree.  Check with your local government as there are often size limitations.  These limitations for Christmas tree recycling might mean you have to chop your tree in half if it is too large!
  • You can also take your tree to a drop off recycling center.  Most counties have free drop off locations.
  • Cut your tree into pieces that will fit into your recycling container
  • Some Ikea stores will accept trees for recycling.  Contact them directly for your area

**IMPORTANT:  You should never, under any circumstances, burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. They are highly flammable, have a high content of turpentine oils and build up the creosote in your fire place.

If you are feeling particularly environmentally conscious, then start your own recycling program!  Earth 911 has some great tips to get you started!

For more tips, please visit the Lawn & Garden Section of our website!

Do you have any tips for Christmas Tree Recycling?

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