Re-Use and Recycle Options for Your Christmas Tree

December 20, 2010 View all articles in Re-Use-It

If you've bought a real Christmas tree this year, have you thought about how you'll dispose of it after the holidays? Like most people, you're probably planning on leaving it by the curb for the garbage men to pick up. But this method of disposal contributes to nearly 20 percent of our annual municipal solid waste. This means compostable material (i.e., your Christmas tree) is being put in landfills, where it takes additional time to biodegrade and has no chance of benefiting the planet. Keep reading to learn some ways your Christmas tree can be put to use as well as and some eco-friendly methods of disposal.


  • Make mulch out of your Christmas tree's branches by renting a wood chipper or borrowing a neighbor's. You can use the mulch in your own garden or contact your city's Parks & Recreation Department about making a donation.
  • Place your Christmas tree in your garden or back yard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Provide the birds with food by making pine cone bird feeders or by hanging strings of popcorn or fresh fruit on the limbs. Just make sure you've removed the tinsel and any other harmful decorations first.
  • Contact your state's Department of Natural Resources to see if they need logs for fish habitats. Likewise, if you have a pond on your property or know someone who does, you can place cut up pieces of your Christmas tree on the bottom to provide places for fish to hide.
  • Or see if your state's Department of Natural Resources needs your Christmas tree to help reduce shoreline erosion on oceans, lakes, or rivers.
  • Locate your city's recycling center by entering your ZIP code into the online directory at Earth 911 . Many cities will either provide drop-off locations or offer a collection service that will pick up your Christmas tree. After your tree is dropped off or picked up, it will be made into mulch or wood chips and used for park walkways and trails, in flowerbeds, and around trees all over the community.
  • Pay your local Boy Scout troop to collect your tree and take it to a recycler for you.


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