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Because You Asked

How Are Christmas Trees Recycled?

By Recyclebank |

Your old Christmas tree can be a gift that keeps on giving to the environment.

Dear Recyclebank,

How are Christmas trees recycled?

Sarah J., Xenia, OH


Many towns and cities have drop-off locations and/or curbside pickup programs for Christmas trees in the weeks following the holiday. If you still have your tree, check with your local waste hauler or your city officials as soon as possible, since the deadlines for many tree disposal programs are in early and mid-January. Make sure to remove all the decorations and the tree stand before handing the tree off. This is crucial because of the way the trees are typically recycled.

There are a number of ways to recycle and reuse Christmas trees, since they’re a great source of nourishing and biodegradable material. Many are chipped in order to produce mulch, which some programs then make available for free to home gardeners. Other areas may use it in public spaces such as parks and hiking trails.

Mulch is far from the only use for recycled Christmas trees, though. Other initiatives include erosion control, additional shelter for wildlife in their habitats, and even rebuilding sand dunes. Responsible tree disposal makes a great final holiday gift to the environment!

National Christmas Tree Association
International Business Times
City of Houston
Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation

Does your area have a Christmas tree recycling program? How would you like to see your old trees used? Tell us in the comments.

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • June S. 1 year ago
    I live not far from the beach, so trees are collected here for rebuilding sand dunes. They do ask that you remove all decorations, lights, and tinsel. That should be a "goes without saying" but sadly, it isn't. Happy to see trees used in this way! Right now I'm thinking the county has plenty of mulch since tons of tree debris from Hurricane Florence was just collected and mulched.
  • erica m. 3 years ago
    Should go without saying but: REMOVE THE LIGHTS BEFORE COMPOSTING TREES. You'd be surprised!
  • Katherine M F. 3 years ago
    I just learned from an arborist that pine branches spread under azalea bushes promote growth in spring. Pine trees seem to have nutrients that are good for the azaleas.
  • sandy w. 3 years ago
    i dont know b/c i dont celebrate christmas and buy trees.
  • Emilie A. 3 years ago
    Our parish picks up. It helps with the wetland sustaining efforts.
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