How to Properly Dispose of Your Christmas Tree

If you’ve brought home a live Christmas tree, you’ve been here before on December 26:

“When should I throw it out? Can I even throw it out?”

While live trees offer many benefits over fake ones, you can’t break them apart and throw them in the attic for another 11 months. Instead, follow these tips from the pros at Lawn Pride to simply and safely dispose of your old tree.

Post-Christmas Tree

What Can Be Recycled vs. Thrown Away

Check with your local municipality to see if tree recycling is available. Many cities and towns offer this service, and some even offer curbside pickup. In other places, you’ll have to take your tree to a drop-off recycling center. Make sure to verify pickup or drop-off times so you’re not stuck with a dead tree and a floor full of fallen needles after the local recycling window has closed. You might also find luck by contacting your local city or volunteer fire departments. If you prefer, call around to local non-profits or check their social media pages - some organizations provide recycling programs at no cost or for a small donation.

If your local waste management department does not offer Christmas tree recycling but does have a yard waste program, this is another option. Cut the tree down to disposable pieces - we suggest you wait until the tree is outside to do so - and place loosely into your yard waste bin.

Although trees are recyclable, most of the other stuff associated with them is not. This includes tree stands and skirts, tinsel, bows, ornaments, and Christmas lights. If recycling your tree or disposing of it via yard waste, make sure all non-organic material is removed first.

Other Ideas & One HUGE “Do Not Do!”

There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives for getting rid of an old Christmas tree. They make excellent mulch, animal bedding, trail material, and have many more uses. Old Christmas trees continue to serve as excellent shelter for birds and other animals, so consider placing it in your backyard. Likewise, if you have a stocked pond that isn’t frozen over, the fish will appreciate having a sunken tree to explore and hide around. If you don’t want to deal with the tree on your own property, reach out to zoos, animal rescues, and nature preserves in your area. All might be able to put your old tree to good use.

Finally, we have to put this out there because, believe it or not, folks have tried it before. Whatever you choose to do with your tree, do NOT stuff it into your fireplace and try to burn it. Why? Well, if you have to ask you probably shouldn’t be playing with fire in the first place. Just don’t do it.

Do you have a tried and true method for getting rid of your old Christmas tree that’s not listed here? We want to hear about it! Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages! If it’s clever enough, we might just add it to this blog post and credit your creativity!