How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas TreesWhere and How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas Trees in Iowa in January 2018

How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas Trees

In many urban and suburban areas, Christmas trees are collected from curbside during the first 2 weeks in January. Be sure to remove all  remove all lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, stands,  other NON-Organic decorative materials and other materials that are not part of the original tree. This includes tree stands also.  Flocked trees are usually accepted, but not artificial trees. Large trees (larger than the standard 6 - 7 ft tree) may need to be cut in half to be acceptable by your garbage hauler. But scrroll down this page for more specific information and local links.

What happens to the trees? In most cases, the trees are chipped and made into a mulch which is usually made available, free to city or county residents. Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.

Tips: Always follow the links (usually the name of the city or county) below for updated information, as these agencies often wait until the last minute to change dates or update their information (it's government, remember?). If your area is Grinding Christmas trees into mulchnot specifically mentioned below, contact your trash collection agency and inquire!

Related information:

See this page for local options to easily recycle your Christmas holiday lights

Click here for the list of winter sleigh ride locations!

See our easy recipes to make a Chocolate Yule log and click here to make your own low-fat, low calorie but delicious Egg Nog ! Then come back to our other website in March to find a local Easter Egg Hunt for your children !

Iowa: Where and How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

  • Ames, Iowa
    The City of Ames typically provides free disposal of Christmas trees following the holidays at the Parks & Recreation Maintenance Shop, 700 E. 13th St. The Christmas trees will be recycled into chips, which will be used in City of Ames parks. Generally, trees can be dropped off at the Parks & Recreation Maintenance Shop during daylight hours throughout January. The driveway will be marked with a sign. The tree stand, tinsel, and all ornaments should be removed from the tree. For more specific information on drop-off days and times, check the City of Ames website calendar .
  • Boone County, IA - Each year the Boone County Conservation Board, Boone county municipalities, and the
    Boone County Landfill work together to provide the TreeCycle program for the recycling of
    Christmas trees. The program runs for two-three weeks each January. Actual dates and drop-off locations are announced in area newspapers.  The TreeCycle program accepts only clean Christmas Trees. All ornaments, lights, tinsel, bags and tree stands must be removed.) All Christmas trees collected through the TreeCycle program will be recycled (chipped/mulched) and utilized in county and city parks located in Boone County. If residents have questions about the TreeCycle program they are encouraged to call the Boone County Landfill at (515) 433-0591 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Christmas Tree Disposal: Residents have several options for disposal of their Christmas trees this year. There are many different types of trees: live, flocked and artificial trees. Flocked trees are live trees that have been covered in a white, snow-like spray. Each type of tree has different disposal options; please take a moment to determine how to properly dispose of your tree.
    Live Tree Disposal (un-flocked): The Cedar Rapids Solid Waste and Recycling Division collects live Christmas trees as part of the yard waste collection service. Un-flocked trees will be collected December 26th through January 16th. Preparing the tree for curbside collection:
    Remove all ornaments, wires and decorations from the tree
    Do not place the tree in a plastic bag
    Remove any stand or other metal objects from the tree
    Cut the tree into 3 foot sections
    The tree can be placed at the curb on your collection day. You may also put the tree into the YARDY cart for collection, but make sure the lid can close.
    To protect the safety of our crews, please make sure trees are placed at the curb height for collection. Items placed on top of snow banks will not be collected.
    The Indian Creek Nature Center also accepts live, un-flocked trees free from all metal objects at the Sac & Fox Trailhead Parking lot on Bertram Rd (before the blue bridge). The trees will be chipped and used as mulch on the Indian Creek Nature Center trail system. Trees should be un-flocked and free of all decorations, tinsel, tree trimmings, tree stand(s), nails and tree bags. Drop off availability continues through January 31, 2015.
    Flocked Trees: Flocked Trees are considered a garbage item. Trees must be cut into 3 foot sections and each section must have a $1.50 garbage sticker affixed before being set out with your garbage.
    Artificial Trees: Plastic trees are also a garbage item. There are no recycling opportunities for plastic Christmas trees in the area. If you can set your artificial tree out for collection in 3 foot sections, a $1.50 sticker is required for each section. If you cannot separate your artificial tree into sections, please call the Solid Waste & Recycling Office at (319) 286-5897 to set up a special pick-up of your tree. The tree will be collected with the Bulky Item Collection Program. The cost of collection will be $5.00 and added to your next municipal utility bill.
    Cardboard is banned from the landfill, so customers must recycle the cardboard tree box in the CURBY cart.
  • Des Moines, Iowa - Christmas trees can be placed out for collection and will be picked up beginning the last week of December. In order to have your Christmas tree picked up you must first attach a Compost It! sticker , make sure all tinsel and decorations are removed, and it cannot be in a plastic bag, and leave it at the curb on your regular collection day. Wreaths and garland are not accepted. For additional information or to purchase a sticker, contact the Metro Waste Authority at (515) 244-0021. Metro Waste .
  • Dubuque, Iowa - trees are treated as yard waste. Additional information regarding these programs can be found on each individual program page, or by clicking here  to view the current flyer. 
  • Iowa City - Residents who get curbside garbage and recycling pickup services can leave their Christmas trees at the curb for pickup on their regularly scheduled garbage days during January. Do not put Christmas trees in a plastic bag, and be sure to remove decorations, garland and lights. You won't be charged an additional fee to dispose of trees away during January. The trees will be composted at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. Artificial trees do not qualify for the free pickup, but you can arrange for them to be picked up and disposed of for an additional fee. For additional information call the Iowa City Solid Waste office at (319) 356-5180.