How are trees recycled

How (and Why) to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Isaac Weins and Kevin Haseney


The holidays may be over, but your Christmas tree can be evergreen. Trees are not trash and do not belong in a landfill, which is why most communities offer free recycling programs. When one person takes the initiative to recycle their tree, it can inspire the rest of the community to do the right thing too. Whether you are celebrating Epiphany on January 6 or just like keeping the Christmas spirit alive in January, there is an opportunity to give one last gift to the planet—recycle your Christmas tree.

The Importance of Tree Recycling
Bringing home a tree for the holidays is not always an environmentally-friendly process, so leaving the branches to waste away only adds to the harm. Cutting down trees takes them out of their natural environment and transporting them to tree farms and shops uses valuable resources, like fuel and energy.

To help reduce the environmental impact of taking home a Christmas tree, you should responsibly recycle it to keep it out of the landfill. Even though trees are biodegradable, they will not improve the environment by sitting in a trash pile waiting to decompose.

When trees are recycled, they can start a new life cycle beyond the holidays and help compensate for the damage done by harvesting them initially. Trees can be shredded to create mulch or fertilizer for public parks and playgrounds, be repurposed into soil erosion barriers by embedding them into the earth, serve as fish feeders in private ponds, or even be used as barriers on hiking trails. Most traditional tree recycling programs can offer insights into where the tree will go after it is picked up, either through their Web site or local program coordinator.

How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree
Tree recycling is a simple process and will not require more effort than trashing a tree would. Counties offer programs like transfer stations, drop-off centers, or curbside pickup services for residents—often free of charge—in the first few weeks of January.

Visit your county’s Web site for information, or you can call to ask about local holiday recycling programs. Most will have best practices for tree recycling and can offer specific details about curbside pickups, or they can refer you to the nearest county offering tree recycling programs. Another option is to look into local nonprofits or contact a Boy Scout Troop that might recycle trees for a small donation.

Some cities also provide yard waste containers for residents, so Christmas trees can be chopped up and placed into those for collection as well. The time frame of tree donation programs may vary from county to county, but Christmas tree removal typically takes place after the New Year and can run through mid-January.

If none of these options sounds appealing or convenient, local junk removal companies like JDog Junk Removal & Hauling often run tree pickups after the holidays or offer single-item pickups—just make sure the companies are environmentally conscious and will not dump your tree in the landfill.

Other Holiday Recycling Tips and Reminders
Christmas trees are only recyclable if they have had all of their decorations, like tinsel, removed and they have not been sprayed with any chemicals. If you used fake frost on your tree or painted any part of it, the tree may no longer be recyclable due to the chemicals in the sprays. There are some biodegradable paint options available, so if you need to paint your tree next year, make sure to check the label before spraying.

Also remember that Christmas trees are not the only holiday greenery that can be recycled. If your house was decked-out in all forms of pine needles, your obligation to the planet does not stop with your tree. Plant-based items like poinsettias, Christmas wreaths, and garland can also be recycled through local drop-off programs as long as they are not covered in chemicals and have all garnishes, like ribbons, removed beforehand.

While it may seem like Christmas trees and other greenery would decompose in a landfill, there is a much more resourceful and environmentally friendly way to clean out after the holidays. Make sure you start the New Year on the right foot.

Isaac Weinsis a recycling industry expert and the owner of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Southeastern Wisconsin, a national Veteran and military family owned and operated franchise system.

Kevin Haseneyis a recycling industry expert and the district commander at JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Tampa, a Military Veteran Partners company that empowers Veterans, serves the community and protects the environment.

8 Sustainable Ways to Recycle your Christmas Tree

Each year, there are 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. And the debate continues whether it’s more sustainable to buy a real tree or a fake tree. Fake trees can be used year after year, while a real tree is cut down, can only be used once, and then discarded. So why would anyone want to cut down more trees?

Most real Christmas trees are grown on farms, like crops, for the specific purpose of being harvested as Christmas trees. Every time a real Christmas tree is bought, a new one is replanted on the farm. Very few Christmas trees are removed from federal forests, and those that are, are strictly regulated by the U.S. Forest Service.

Real trees are more sustainable because they are biodegradable, unlike plastic trees which fill landfills and cause more harm than good to the environment. Plus, Christmas tree farms provide many of the same benefits as community trees and forests; cleaning the air and water, removing carbon, stabilizing soil, and more.

One of the other benefits of a real Christmas tree are the different ways you can recycle it at the end of the season. Many communities offer free Christmas tree recycling and make mulch, compost, and woodchips from the trees.

Here are 8 ways you can reuse your Christmas tree long after the season is over.  



Because most evergreens are heavy sap trees, they work best for firewood when used outdoors. The sap is flammable and creosote build-up can pose as a threat when used indoors. Evergreens tend to burn hot and fast, making them ideal for bonfires.

Note: Trees with sap should be dried out a few months before cutting or burning to avoid a mess and an unruly fire.

2. Mulch

The most common use for your tree is to make mulch or compost out of it. Whether it’s with the woodchips or needles, mulch is a great way to keep your yard trees healthy and moist during the cold winter season. Pine needles are full of nutrients that enhance the PH of your soil if its more alkaline and allow your soil to breathe without becoming dense and compacted.  Be sure to douse your pine needles with water and mix well in your compost pile.

Watch: Ask an Arborist: Why do we Mulch?

3. Wildlife

The tree doesn’t have to be living for wildlife to take over. Hang bird feeders to attract birds and watch your tree evolve into a bird sanctuary. Other critters will soon follow as they nest in the branches of the tree.

4. Fish Feeder

When trees are dropped and left in water, they become a thriving reserve for fish. The weight of the tree acts as an anchor, and as time passes, algae starts to form on the tree, feeding fish and protecting them from predators. Check with local officials and see if you can drop your tree in a nearby lake or pond.

5. Ash your Garden

After you’ve burned the wood from your tree, gather the ashes and spread them on your garden. Wood ash contains potassium and lime (among other nutrients), which help plants thrive, or mix the ashes into a compost. The ashes are also useful in keeping insects away. Don’t confuse wood ash with coal ash, coal ash does not offer the same benefits.

Read: How to Create a Garden Around Your Home That Stands Out

6. Insulate your Garden

Cut off the branches of your tree and lay them on your garden bed, the boughs will protect your plants from winter freezes and spring thaws. By laying them on your garden, you’re giving your plants a steady temperature for the cold months. The limbs also work well as a garden edge.

7. Fresheners

If the needles on your tree are still green, strip the tree and store the needles in paper bags or sachets to use as fresheners. The needles will retain their scent and freshen your home year-round.

8. Coasters

You don’t have to be a craftsman to cut the trunk into one-inch wood coasters. They’re attractive, practical, and protect your wood tables from water damage. Be sure to let the tree completely dry before cutting (or they wood will split) and varnish the coasters before use.

If you have no need for recycling your living tree for home use, then search for a local recycling program that will recycle your tree. Many communities have recycle/reuse programs and offer curbside pickup. Living trees are biodegradable, so no matter how it is used after the holidays, it is sure to benefit the environment. iority=”

Christmas treeChristmas tree recycling

Wood - Separate Collection - site directory

Wood is a durable natural material from which furniture, buildings, building materials and other items are made. It is considered an environmentally friendly, non-toxic material.

Wood processing

The problem with processing arises if the wood is treated with varnish, paints, or some other material. Then it is difficult to recycle it, because. it is not known how the product will behave during processing.

For untreated wood, there are chemical, biological, mechanical processing.

For example, wood waste can be used as a raw material for hydrolysis production, production of rosin, process chips and wood pulp, production of building and furniture boards, production of activated carbon and explosives, as raw materials, additives for the needs of pharmacology, soap production and perfumery products, in the production of tannins for the leather industry, as compressed fuel blocks, as well as in the production of various concretes based on wood aggregates.

Sawdust, shavings, grinding dust are already actively used in agriculture as an additive to fertilizers for heavy soils, in animal husbandry - for the underlying layer.

What to do with wood products?

In order of priority:

  • if the thing is in good condition, then find a second life
  • hand over unvarnished/painted items for recycling
  • compost unvarnished/painted items
  • burn unvarnished/painted articles

Which wood products can be recycled?
  • pallets are often accepted and even bought for reuse (just type a query in search engines)
  • fruit boxes are more difficult to attach, but also possible (also use search engines)
  • frames for pictures, photographs, even without glass, will be taken away with pleasure by creative people (more about craft sharing)
  • wicker baskets can be used more than once, given to someone or made into a gift with them - again, this is a great replacement for disposable film or wrapping paper.
  • Furniture in good condition can be donated on platforms such as Avito, Yula, Donate, etc.
  • Furniture may be accepted at Chumodan and Dump, Moscow social projects that operate on the principle of second-hand

Where to take wood for processing in Moscow?

✅ The following wooden products can be handed over for processing in Moscow :

  • large wooden products such as pallets, boxes - they are more or less often accepted, for example, by LuxEcoService or use search engines
  • small wooden items such as sushi sticks are accepted for composting at Vegmart
  • Wooden chopsticks for sushi/rolls are accepted by Project Collector
  • wooden furniture in large IKEA stores

⛔ Specify where the harvested wood goes if you see that someone is taking furniture - often it goes to regular burning (not always safe with filters, etc.)!

🌍 Find where to recycle in your city more conveniently on our map of environmental movements in Russia and the CIS

⁉ If you have additional useful information for this page, write to us at [email protected] ru

This site — a unique reference book in Russia on separate collection, created and maintained by Valeria Korosteleva, an expert of the Separate Collection movement. The project needs your support!

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What wood is processed for

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Wood is the oldest material that is still popular in human life and work. Therefore, the issues of product waste, which are formed both during its creation and as a result of its natural aging, are very relevant. The tree decomposes quite independently in nature, this process takes a long time. With uncontrolled storage of woodworking products, negative ecosystems can form in the form of beetles and insects that harm completely living trees in natural conditions. Such storage takes up a lot of space, which will need to be constantly expanded. This raises a logical question, how can wood be processed, what is obtained from it and what is it for?

Modern methods of wood processing

The possibility of wood processing has opened up new directions in the industry. After all, such processes create new materials that have found their wide application in the field of construction, agriculture, the creation of stationery and the creation of furniture. Waste from the primary processing of wood helps to significantly reduce costs and reduce consumed resources in many industries.

Nowadays wood processing methods are often used:

  • Biological. It is as close as possible to the natural processes of wood processing with an emphasis on accelerating these processes. If the result of such processing is of poor quality, then it can be used in agriculture without any danger. As a result, absolutely natural and environmentally friendly raw materials, such as protein yeast, will be obtained.
  • Mechanical. Here the main emphasis is on changing the shape and volume of the structure of raw materials that have been processed. The chemical component of the substance does not change here, it can be sawing into smaller pieces or crushing into sawdust or chips.
  • Chemical. With the help of special chemical compounds, a certain effect is carried out on wood in order to make another material out of it for the same construction or furniture.
  • Why is wood processing important? Accordingly, there is a lot of waste in the process of such work. In order not to store them, and not to wait for them to rot by themselves, methods of processing wood into secondary raw materials are used. Residual or defective primary material is also easily amenable to subsequent transformation.

    Such recycling is important because it allows you to turn essentially unnecessary leftovers and garbage into other useful materials, which, having wood as a basis, are already environmentally friendly and safe. Moreover, they are safe for health and the environment.

    All this makes it possible to make the use of this natural resource maximum, rational, useful, taking into account the reduction in actual production costs. After all, the profitability of the production itself increases significantly. After all, here, from the initial garbage, another full-fledged material of good quality is obtained as a result, which can also be used in various fields.

    Recycled waste is often purchased for areas such as:

    1. Construction: production of sawdust concrete, bedding, insulation, sealant, etc.
    2. Animal husbandry: arrangement of pens for livestock, the formation of soft and safe areas for walking.
    3. Water supply: using sawdust as an additional filter for cleaning.
    4. Creation of a safe heat-insulating material.
    5. Arrangement of summer cottages and garden beds.
    6. Manufacture of furniture.

      Learn more