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How to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree

Wondering how to dispose of your Christmas tree? Now that the holidays are over, here are a few tips for proper Christmas tree disposal and some creative & sustainable ways to use your discarded Christmas tree!

Disposal Tips

  • When your tree is dry and pine needles are falling off at the touch, it’s time to remove the tree from your home. Dry Christmas trees are highly flammable, and December and January are the peak time for house fires. Keep your family and your home safe! Remove your tree from your home when the holiday is over, before it gets too dry and becomes too much of a risk.
  • Make sure you’ve removed all items and decorations from your tree, such as ornaments and ornament hooks, lights, garland, and tinsel.
  • You may need to chop your tree before you can dispose of it. For example, the place you plan to give your discarded tree to may require the tree to be in 4-foot sections.
  • Does your community have a tree recycling program? Search online or ask your neighbors. Some businesses accept Christmas tree drop-offs. They’ll often use the trees to create mulch – but more on that later!
    • Contact hardware stores, too. Some will recycle Christmas trees!
  • In the weeks following the Christmas season, waste management departments often provide Christmas tree curbside pickup services. See if this is something your local waste management provider offers. If they do, leave your tree at the curb, but make sure it isn’t blocking roads or sidewalks.
  • Local fire stations often collect Christmas trees after the holidays. Check if your local station has a Christmas tree drop-off!

Sustainable Uses for Your Christmas Tree

There are several ways to put your Christmas tree to good use after the holidays.

  • When you bring your Christmas tree to a fire station, a hardware store, or other community initiative, it’s often turned into mulch. This is one of the most common ways to reuse a Christmas tree. Since trees are biodegradable, this is an excellent, sustainable use for a Christmas tree!
    • Consider making your own mulch from your Christmas tree. If you do not have a wood chipper, you can likely rent one or borrow from a neighbor!
  • Christmas trees can serve as bird feeders. To use yours this way, secure it (far from your house – remember, dry trees are a fire hazard!) in your backyard. For those with ponds, they can also be used as fish feeders!
  • Are you a gardener? Some people use larger branches for climbing plants in their gardens!
  • Check in with local animal sanctuaries to see if they have any use for your tree. Spectrum News 1 in Buffalo, New York recently published a story about Let’s Goat Buffalo, an animal sanctuary that makes great use of trees after Christmas; they give the trees to their goats to enjoy!
  • Research other community initiatives that may make use of old Christmas trees. Some communities recycle trees as soil erosion barriers or paths for hiking trails. See what your local community may need your tree for!

      Remember:

      Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or woodstove! Pine and other fir/evergreen trees have a high oil content, and burning can cause a buildup of creosote, leading to chimney fires.

       

      *This article was adapted from an earlier version, originally published by Merchants on January 2, 2020.


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