How and Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

 Revised  November 15, 2013 (always revised late December / early January)

If you had a live Christmas tree this year and now wonder what to do with it: reycle it (how? where?) or if not, dispose of it (how, how much?) then this page should help you.  Many cities and counties have recycling services to put your old Christmas tree to new life as a wildlife sanctuary, on a sand dune to protect the beach, chipped for mulch or as a bird feeder.  Look below on this page for both general tips and options specific to your local area. One tip: some areas are now calling a Christmas tree a "Holiday tree".  Ugh!

What Are Your Recycling Choices?

After the holidays, don’t throw your natural tree away!  Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays. In general, you have these options:

  1. Curbside pick-up for recycling - Most areas will collect trees during their regular pickup schedules on the 2 weeks following Christmas.  There are often requirements for size, removing ornaments, flocking, etc; see below for where and how to recycle your tree most easily, in your lovcal area.
  2. Call for an appointment to have a non-profit in your area pickup your tree. Some boy scout troops are offering a pickup service for a small donation (often $5).
  3. Take your tree to a drop off recycling center. Home Depot is collecting Christmas trees in many areas, free of charge. Most counties have free drop-off locations throughout the county. Usually, you may take up to two trees to any of the following drop-off locations at no charge.
  4. Cut the tree to fit loosely into your yard waste container.

Local Options

Unless otherwise noted, all stands, lights, decorations, and tinsel must be removed. Artificial Christmas trees can not be recycled. They must go out with the garbage.

General tips for most haulers:

  1. Remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, and other NON-Organic decorative materials. This includes tree stands also.
  2. Trees are often required to be cut into 4 ft lengths; so you may need to cut your tree in half. In some locales, the trees must be cut small enough pieces to fit inside your green (yard waste) container.
  3. Flocked trees will often need to be chopped-up and disposed with regular solid waste. Each area has different requirements, so be sure to check with your hauler's website (see below).
  4. Trees are usually collected curbside for two weeks after Christmas.
  5. FREE Drop-off locations are also commonly available
  6. If you miss the collection period, you can cut-up the tree and place it in your green (yard waste) container for pick-up on the regularly scheduled service day; assuming your area has a yard waste collection program to which you subscribe.

Click on the links below to find your local Christmas tree recycling options.

Specific local information is given below, where available. If no local information is provided, and you wish to add it, please use the feedback form!

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Other tips and ideas

  • Removing the tree: The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up! You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.
  • Tree Recycling / Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check below on this page or with your local department of public works for information. They chip and shred the trees, then make the mulch available for use in your garden.  Your hauler will notify you of pick-up dates in your area. There are a few things you must do to make your tree ready for RECYCLING. Here are some general tips - but be sure to check with your local hauler - these are just general guidelines! To find your local hauler:
    If it is Waste Management Inc (WM), click here to find your Local WM Service Provider's Website - or click here to contact Your Local WM Customer Service Center by Phone - find the 1-800 number of your Local Customer Service Center
    If your local hauler is AW / BFI (Allied Waste) - Click here to locate the contact information for your local hauler.
  • Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management (Louisiana does both).
  • Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds trees make excellent refuge, breeding area and feeding area for fish.
  • Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed).  Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper. See this article from Perdue University for more information.
  • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden. If you have a neighbor with a chipper, see if he will chip it for you. Be sure to apply garden lime on the mulc to counter the acidity.
  • Paths for Hiking Trails - some counties use the shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers!
  • Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas (It's a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late Fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) NOTE: Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates, than in a northern area.
  • Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils.  Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and risk a chimney fire.

ALPAR’s Christmas Tree Recycling comes to Anchorage and the Valley again this holiday season. Beginning December 28, 2012 through January 15, 2013, residents can recycle their live Christmas trees at all Anchorage and Palmer CARRS / Safeway stores. Please remove decorations and stands and NO wreaths please. Trees are made into fragrant wood chips for use on local trails. Boy Scout Troop 268 will pick up trees in Anchorage for an optional small fee. This program is sponsored by the businesses of ALPAR, CARRS/Safeway and Municipality of Anchorage Solid Waste Services. Thanks to our media sponsors: Anchorage Media Group radio stations, GCI and Anchorage Daily News.
DROP OFF LOCATIONS: CARRS/SAFEWAY STORE PARKING LOTS – ANCHORAGE, EAGLE RIVER, PALMER
BOY SCOUT PICK UP SERVICE: 868-8899 OR EMAIL:recyclechristmastrees@gci.net.

  • Arkansas


Arizona

  • Tucson, Arizona - TreeCycle - Starting December 28 and every day during daylight hours through January 11th. The city does not collect Christmas trees from curbs and alleys. Residents must bring their trees to one of the free program's 12 drop- off locations. trees can be brought to a special tree-grinding from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 10, when city officials will do grinding in the east parking lot of the Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. First Ave. For more information call 791-5000. The city's TreeCycle drop- off sites are:
    1. Pima County Tangerine Landfill, 10220 W. Tangerine Road: 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily.
    2. Marana Airport west entrance, five miles west of Interstate 10 on Avra Valley Road.
    3. Oro Valley lot, Naranja Town Site, 660 W. Naranja Drive.
    4. Pima County Ina Road Landfill, 5301 W. Ina Road: 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Mondays through Fridays only.
    5. Rillito Race Track, east parking lot, 4502 N. First Avenue, between East Wetmore and East River roads.
    6. Udall Park, south of the Little League ball fields, 7290 E. Tanque Verde Road.
    7. Golf Links Sports Park, northwest of Craycroft and Golf Links roads.
    8. Rodeo Grounds, 4823 S. Sixth Avenue, north of Irvington Road by the east parking lot entrance.
    9. Davis Monthan Air Force Base recycling center — base access is required.
    10. Los Reales Landfill, 5300 E. Los Reales Road.
    11. Goodwill drop-off location, 7650 E. Valencia Road.
    12. Sahuarita Landfill, 16605 S. La Cañada Drive, south of Helmet Peak Road, west of Interstate 19: 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily.

Colorado

  • Colorado Recycles has compiled statewide, county by county information base for recycling Christmas trees in Colorado.
  • Colorado Springs - Dates: December 31, January 1, January 7, & January 8. For extended drop off use Rocky Top Resources (see below)
    Baptist Rd. Trailhead (Baptist Rd & Old Denvery Hwy), Falcon Trailhead (SW corner of Woodmen Rd & McLaughlin Rd), Cottonwood Creek Park (Dublin & Montarbor Dr), Skysox Stadium (Barnes & Tutt), Rock Ledge Ranch (Gateway Rd & 30th St.), Memorial Park (Pikes Peak Ave & Union Blvd), Rocky Top Resources (1755 E. Las Vegas St.) Info: $5.00 per tree. Please remove all tinsel, ornaments, lights, stands, and other foreign material prior to recycling. The fee supports the recycling program and community sports programs. Trees are chipped into mulch and is free to the public at the drop off sites (bring your own tools for loading mulch)

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Hawaii


Idaho

  • Boise - Christmas Tree Recycling - Christmas trees will by picked up by BFI/Allied Waste during the first two weeks of January.  Christmas trees set out for collection must be free of lights, ornaments, tinsel, and stand.  They must be cut to 4-ft. lengths or smaller.  Flocked trees and wreaths are not accepted.
  • All other areas of Idaho

  • Iowa


Kansas

  • Pick-up Services
    • Lenexa – Lenexa residents only – (913) 982-3900
    • Merriam – Merriam residents only - (913) 322-5570

    Drop-Off Locations

    • Bonner Springs –North Park, 1200 S. 134th St.,  Bonner Springs, Kan., (913) 441-1662
    • Bonner Springs – Wyandotte County Park, 126th & State Avenue, Bonner Springs, Kan., (913) 573-8327
    • Kansas City, Kans. – City Park, 2601 Park Dr., Kansas City, Kan., (913) 573-8327
    • Kansas City, Kans. – Alvey Park, 4834 Metropolitan Avenue, Kansas City, Kan., (913) 573-8327
    • Lansing – Transfer Station, 24967 136th St., Lansing, Kan., (913) 727-2858
    • Leavenworth – Municipal Brush Site, 1803 S. 2nd St., Leavenworth, Kan., (913) 758-6616
    • Lee’s Summit – City of Lee’s Summit Yard Waste Dropoff Center, 2101 SE Hamblen Rd., Lees Summit, Mo., (816) 969-1804
    • Lenexa – Little Mill Creek North Park, 7900 Cottonwood, Lenexa, Kan., (913) 541-8592.
    • Olathe – Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe, Kan., (913) 441-8669
    • Olathe – Heritage Park, 16050 Pflumm Rd., Olathe, Kan., (913) 441-8669
    • Overland Park – Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W. 179th St., Overland Park, Kan., (913) 895-6273
    • Overland Park – Youngs Park, 7701 Antioch, Overland Park, Kans., (913) 895-6273
    • Overland Park – Quivira Park, 11901 Quivira, Overland Park, Kans., (913) 895-6273
    • Overland Park – Indian Creek Recreation Center, 10308 Marty, Overland Park, Kan., (913) 895-6273
    • Shawnee – Deffenbaugh Recycling Center, 17955 Holiday Dr., Shawnee, Kan., (913) 631-3300
    • Shawnee – Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kan., (913) 831-3355

  • Kentucky


Louisiana

  • The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Coastal Restoration Division (CRD) has been conducting a Christmas Tree Fence Program, using trees to help protect state's coastal wetlands. About half a million trees have already been used in erosion-control projects since the program began. Typically, a Christmas tree fence is based on a simple design and utilizes familiar materials. A treated wooden fence, or "pen", is constructed in a shallow open-water area. Then the Christmas trees, donated by Louisiana's citizens after the holiday season, are placed into the pen. Please contact the individuals listed below to determine collection schedules and sites. Trees should be free of tinsel, flocking, bases, plastic bags and ornaments. For more information, contact DNR's Coastal Restoration Project Manager, Keith Lovell, (225) 342-0202 or visit the DNR website and also this Earth911 page: Louisiana

  • Maine


  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Montana

  • North Carolina

  • North Dakota

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire

  • New Mexico


Ohio

  • The City of Cleveland will pick up your live Christmas tree from the curb for recycling from December 26, 2008 through January 30, 2009. Cleveland residents can pick up free mulch from the trees in the spring, while supplies last.

  • Oklahoma


  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Utah

  • Vermont


  • Wisconsin

  • West Virginia

  • Wyoming