Be Green: Recycle Your Christmas Tree

As the holiday festivities wind down and we prepare to begin a new year, don’t forget to recycle your Christmas tree.

Real Christmas trees are green in both the traditional and modern sense of the the word. The National Christmas Tree Association suggests some of the following tips on how to recycle your Christmas tree.

  • Curbside pick-up: Many communities will collect trees during their regular pick-up schedule during the first two weeks after the holiday. You’ll need to remove lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, stands and other non-organic materials. If your tree is larger than six feet, you’ll need to cut it in half.
  • Yard waste: If you miss the curbside pick-up schedule, you can cut your tree to fit loosely in your yard waste container on your scheduled pick-up day.
  • Bird feeders: Remove all of the decorations, tinsel and flocking and place the tree in your backyard or garden. Provide the birds with food by making pine cone bird feeders, hanging strings of popcorn and fresh fruit or using suet holders.
  • Mulch: Branches can be removed, chipped and used as mulch in the garden.
  • Line a garden bed: Saw off all the smaller branches then saw the trunk into two-inch-thick rounds.
  • Make coasters: This Old House recommends cutting thin slabs off the trunk, sanding them smooth and applying a thin coat of polyurethane to keep the sap off tables and glassware.

Useful Tip for Next Year: To avoid a mess when removing the tree, place a plastic tree bag (available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up and hide it with a tree skirt. When it’s time to take the tree out, you can pull the bag up around the tree and carry it outside where you can remove the stand before recycling. It is better to sweep up any needles that scatter inside instead of vacuuming them which can clog the vacuum cleaner.

Note: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree can contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.