Recycling Christmas Trees

The Gift that Keeps on Giving


Tis the season for live Christmas trees to start lining the street, waiting for their ride on the trash truck. Why not try something a little different this year. Continue to spread joy by recycling Christmas trees in one of the following ways.

Recycling Christmas Trees

Before you place your tree on the curb for trash pick up, think about the following ways to reuse or recycle your tree.

  1. Neighborhood recycling. Check with your town to see if there are any tree recycling drop-off points. There may also be designated days where a tree recycling truck comes to your neighborhood. Instead of clogging landfills, these trees are usually chipped and used for mulch at parks or other community areas.
  2. Make your own mulch. Rent a wood chipper, invite some friends and neighbors over with their trees, and share the cost with a wood-chipping party. This way everyone gets natural mulch for their garden and is able to recycle their tree. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines and chip responsibly.
  3. Needle mulch. If you don’t want to get a chipper but still want to mulch, simply remove the branches and shake off the dead needles. They decompose slowly, making a nice, all-natural mulch.
  4. Firewood. Fuel your fireplace with the trunk of your Christmas tree. Strip the branches (see above for mulch ideas) and chop up the trunk for firewood. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can always give it to neighbors who do, sell it, or leave it out front with a sign that says, FREE.
  5. DIY crafts. From coasters to garden decor, you can chop the trunk into smaller pieces to use around the house. Sand it down and seal it to help prevent leaking sap.
  6. Natural habitat. If there’s a lake or pond on your property, an old tree can act as building materials for fish and other animals. Place your tree in or around the water for fish and algae to eat as it decomposes.
  7. Dune restoration. Bring joy to beach communities by donating trees to help rebuild dunes and fight beach erosion. The tree needles catch sand and other sea vegetation to provide cover for sea birds in the winter and protection against strong winds.

Preparing Trees for Reuse

Before you toss your trees, make sure to remove all ornaments, hooks, lights, tinsel, and decor. Check your local authorities for dates and times of tree pick-up or recycling drop-off sites. If you’ve already parted with your tree this year, keep these tips in mind the next time you buy a live tree, and let its legacy live on long after the holidays are over.

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