Recycle your Christmas tree after the holidays

Christmas tree

When Christmas is over and your tree begins to drop its needles, don’t put it out for the garbage.

There are numerous ways to recycle your real tree, whether at home or with a community recycling group. The National Christmas Tree Association highlights many options for Christmas tree recycling.


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Recycling at home

If you’re a DIY-er, hang onto your tree after Christmas is over. They can be used for various projects at home.

Fish feeders
If you have a pond, sink your tree into the water. Your fish will use it as a feeding area, and they’ll use it for shelter, too.

Bird feeders
You can also take your tree out back and set it up in your yard or garden. Add popcorn or fresh orange slices on the branches to feed the birds.

Mulch or compost
If you have a wood chipper, remove the tree’s branches, chip the tree and use the mulch in your garden. Or, you can use the chips for compost.

Recycling in the community

Pickup and drop-off services
Depending on where you live, there may be free curbside pickup available for Christmas trees. If your community doesn’t offer pick up services, check for drop-off locations in your county. These services are normally free. Some non-profit groups, like the Boy Scouts, will pick up trees for a small donation of several dollars.

Mulching programs
Some communities even off mulching programs that will chip and shred trees for you, then return the mulch for you to use it in your garden.

Before you give your tree away, make sure all ornaments, garland and lights have been removed.

More information

No matter how you decide to recycle your tree, do not use it for wood in your fireplace or woodstove. The sap in the wood will explode when exposed to heat, and the needles will burn very quickly. If flames rise and sparks fly, creosote deposits in your chimney can ignite, causing a chimney fire.

For more information about how to recycle your Christmas tree, visit the National Christmas Tree Association website.


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  1. Another funny, but totally possible option is to find some goat farm near you and leave it there. Goats love the pines branches and the disposal can’t be more eco-friendly than that.


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