A decked-out Christmas tree is a sight to behold. However, once the holiday is over, give your live tree new life by recycling it.
Christmas tree recycling lets you reuse your tree in ways that will benefit wildlife and your garden. Read on to discover interesting ways to recycle Christmas trees.
Note: Live trees will be in stores nationwide starting late November.
Prepare the Tree
Before taking a tree for recycling or disposal, there will be a small amount of preparation required.
- If you decorated a real Christmas tree with roots this year, either in a container or balled and burlapped, make plans to transition it successfully to your landscape.
- If you plan to recycle your tree, avoid materials like flocking spray in your holiday decorations. The chemical makeup of most of those sprays can make trees un-recyclable.
- Remove all Christmas ornaments, tinsel and garland from the tree and leave it at the curb.
- Very large trees – greater than 7 feet – may need to be cut down to a specified size. Check the requirements for the drop-off program you select.
You can also donate your bare trees after the holidays for any of these unique recycling opportunities.
Innovative Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree
- Chip and Mulch: Use the Christmas tree to make your own mulch. Rent or buy a woodchipper and process the tree. Store the mulch and age for at least one year before using. If gardening is popular in your neighborhood, this is a good community project. Designate a day for tree mulching and allow everyone who participates to take a share of the mulch.
- Erosion Barriers: In some communities, discarded trees are kept intact and used to stabilize beaches and shorelines.
- Feeding Fish: Trees can be sunk into ponds to make a feeding area for fish. Use this on your own property, or check with your community and find out if the city collects trees for this purpose.
- Feeding Birds: Place the tree in your backyard to create a bird habitat for nesting and feeding.
How to Dispose of a Christmas Tree
While tree recycling is a great way to say goodbye to the season, in some areas it simply isn’t possible. In that case, safe Christmas tree disposal is the best option.
- Many local sanitation services will pick up Christmas trees as household waste. Check with the city department to discover the tree pickup schedule and any requirements for tree disposal. For most municipalities, the pickup period lasts a few weeks starting after New Year’s.
- Tree drop-off events are often organized in cities where trees can’t be picked up curbside. Check city and county listing for events. The Home Depot stores in some locations also hold tree collection events. Call your local store to ask if one is scheduled.
- Do not burn your tree in the fireplace or a wood stove. The resulting creosote buildup can possibly ignite and cause a house fire.
Christmas tree recycling is a way to give back to the environment after the gifting season ends. It keeps more seasonal trees out of the local landfills, and tree recycling can help support other ecosystems.
Ready to recycle your tree into useful yard mulch? Opt for convenient tool rental to make the job easier. Rent a woodchipper and save the long-term expense of tool storage and maintenance.