How to dispose of xmas tree

11 Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree

  • While some apartment dwellers are able to just drag trash out to the curb, most renters must find an alternative way of disposing of their old Christmas trees
  • Even without curbside pickup, some properties have restrictions on placing trees or other living items in regular designated trash areas
  • Luckily, there are a number of solutions, including recycling, upcycling and even returning your tree

The day after Christmas and all through the house, nobody knew what to do with the darn apartment tree now that Christmas was over.

When you live in an apartment, you may not have the ability to just drag your old tree to the curb and wait for pick-up.

Whether you have a dumpster, some community trash collection area or indeed can put trash out at the end of a driveway, there are a number of ways for you to safely dispose of your tree after Christmas instead of watching it turn brown in your living room as the calendar changes.

Here are 11 Christmas tree disposal ideas for you as the season winds down.

1. Put the tree out with the trash

The easiest thing to do with your tree after Christmas is to take it out to the trash to be collected as recycling. Depending on your rental situation, this may mean hauling it out to the curb, taking it out to your bulk trash pickup area or having some designated tree plan.

If your apartment is in a residential neighborhood and you regularly take your trash to the curb, check with your local city or township for rules, dates and times as to when you're allowed to put your tree out with your normal collection for recycling.

If you live in a building or complex with private or bulk pickup (like a dumpster), ask your landlord or management office what the policy is (or look for a posting on a community bulletin board or in the Facebook group) and when and where you can take your tree to be sent to its final resting place.

But if your apartment or complex doesn't have or doesn't allow drop off of your tree, you have a few options…


Take your tree to a drop-off site

Most municipalities have some sort of organized tree drop-off plan. In fact, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs throughout the country, most run by local waste disposal departments. Drop off your tree, drive away and don't look back — unless you want to see your memories given the “Fargo" treatment. It couldn't be more simple.

The idea of hauling your slowly-decaying tree in your personal vehicle to a drop-off site may not sound like fun, but doing it right will minimize the damage and mess. If you can find a bag or box big enough to hold the remains (even if you have to cut it into a few pieces), you will keep pine needles and sap from getting all over and in your car. Then, do the reverse of how you got it home in the first place. Strap it to the roof or toss it in the back. And if none of this is feasible, find a friend that owns a pickup.

3. Chip your tree into nothingness

Instead of abandoning your tree at a recycle dump like an unwanted child, turn your tree into wonderful mulch. If your apartment has a garden or flowerbed or a landscaped lawn, you can toss O' Tannenbaum into a woodchipper and let your tree live on.

Mulch and chips are great around bushes and small trees where they can help keep moisture in the soil and stave off direct sunlight. And as the chips decompose, the wood releases nutrients into the ground.

Don't have a giant woodchipper lying around your apartment? No problem. Many cities and non-profit organizations offer chipping events where you can have your tree turned into mulch and either take it home or donate it to the local parks and rec department to be used in city parks.

New York's two-day “Mulchfest" is held annually around the city and recycles more than 26,000 trees a year. And in Atlanta, the “Bring One for the Chipper" program is more than 25 years old and shreds more than 100,000 trees annually.

4. Dump your tree into a lake (nicely)

An alternative to schlepping your tree to a recycler or drop off is to dump it in a lake. Believe it or not, you can actually toss your (chemical-free) tree, trunk and branches separately into a pond or lake and the wood will provide shelter for overwintering fish. Discard your tree and help the environment.

Well, not just any lake and not just however you want. First, find a nearby lake or pond and then, contact the municipality where it's located to make sure you're following all local ordinances.

5. Dump your tree into your fish tank

On a much smaller scale, you can also snap off some of the smaller branches and twigs and arrange them in your home or office fish tank to give your fish a new and natural place to hide and chill out. Just be sure the wood is completely clean and dirt free before tanking it.

6. Reuse just the needles

If you don't have an outdoor space (or fish), you can just upcycle the needles. Before you take your tree to a drop off site, shake a bunch of the needles off into a bag and spread them over the soil in your outdoor spaces or in a flowerbox or planter. The needles break down like mulch and work on balancing out the pH levels in alkaline soil.

7. Use your tree to smell fresh year 'round

The needles can also keep your house smelling sweet all year, as well. Only if your tree's needles are still green and fresh-looking (give them a sniff), strip a bunch of them off and toss them into small paper bags. Stick the bag anywhere you want to smell piney fresh like a closet or catbox area and they'll last a lot longer than you'd expect.

8. Make fire from your tree

If you're one of the lucky ones to have a fireplace in your rental, congratulations … you have some post-Christmas firewood for the rest of winter. You may not have a woodchipper at your disposal, but someone you know somewhere has a saw or axe if you don't have one. With great care, take your tree to an open space in your complex (ask to make sure you're allowed) or somewhere nearby and start chopping.

Well, not right away. If the wood is still wet, take it away from a water source and let it dry. Wet wood in a fire can cause fires where you don't want them. And if your tree is too dried out, it won't burn properly. It's a fine line. Either way, most Christmas trees are small and slender, so you'll wind up with some good kindling or fire starters.

9. Replant your tree

If you have a backyard spot or community green space, and your tree hasn't been cut or had its root ball damaged, you can actually replant it. If you live in warmer climates, and if your tree didn't get dried out inside your house, especially next to vents or heaters, your tree may have a second life.

And new to the scene are actual companies that will rent you a tree, deliver it for the holiday and then come pick it up and replant it for you. It's like Netflix for Christmas trees (OK, well kinda)!

10. Return your tree

And believe it or not, you may actually be able to return your tree! No, not for your money back, but in many places, you can drop your tree off back where you bought it. Some large lots and tree farms will take your tree back and recycle or upcycle it themselves. Ask them when you make your purchase if you can return it, or give them a call.

11. DIY your tree

Remember, your tree is made of wood! That means, if you have the requisite skill, you can make the perfect Etsy-level DIY projects from your soon-to-be-former Christmas tree. Try some of these projects, using the trunk, the branches or just the twigs:

  • Winter wreaths or window boxes
  • Plant supports and wooden plant markers
  • Tree trunk coasters
  • Tree trunk tealight logs
  • Tree branch candlesticks
  • Wall art
  • A wood slice clock
  • And yes, even a didgeridoo

Until next year

Regardless of what you decide to do with your Christmas tree, just know you have options other than dumping it somewhere under the cover of darkness. Or you could always just go with the artificial version and box it back up for next year.

How and Where to Recycle or Dispose Your Christmas Tree in 2022 After The Holidays

Revised in December 2021 (always revised each year in late December and early January)

If you had a live Christmas tree this year and now wonder what to do with it: recycle it (how? where?) or if not, dispose of it (how, how much?) then this page should help you. Many cities and counties have recycling services to put your old Christmas tree to new life as a wildlife sanctuary, on a sand dune to protect the beach, chipped for mulch or as a bird feeder. Look below on this page for both general tips and options specific to your local area. One tip: some areas are now calling a Christmas tree a "Holiday tree". Ugh!

What Are Your Recycling Choices for your Holiday Tree?

After the holidays, don't throw your natural tree away! Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays. In general, you have these options:

  1. Curbside pick-up for recycling - Most areas will collect trees during their regular pickup schedules on the 2 weeks following Christmas. For curbside collection, there are often requirements for size, removing ornaments, flocking, etc; see below for where and how to recycle your tree most easily, in your local area. They'll turn it into mulch, which may be free for you to pick up, if you want it!
  2. Non-profits that pick up - Cll for an appointment to have a non-profit in your area pickup your tree. Some boy scout troops are offering a pickup service for a small donation (often $5).
  3. Drop it off - Take your tree to a drop off recycling center. Most counties have free drop-off locations throughout the county. Usually, you may take up to two trees to any of the following drop-off locations at no charge.
  4. Yard waste pickup - Cut the tree to fit loosely into your yard waste container.
  5. Recycle it yourself - see farther down this page .
  6. Christmas lights - Recycling used, broken or old Christmas lights and electronics - See this page for local options to easily recycle your Christmas holiday lights

Unless otherwise noted, all stands, lights, decorations, and tinsel must be removed. Artificial Christmas trees can not be recycled. They must go out with the garbage.

General tips for most haulers:

  1. Remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights, and other NON-Organic decorative materials. This includes tree stands also.
  2. Trees are often required to be cut into 4 ft lengths; so you may need to cut your tree in half. In some locales, the trees must be cut small enough pieces to fit inside your green (yard waste) container.
  3. Flocked trees will often need to be chopped-up and disposed with regular solid waste. Not all areas will take flocked trees. Each area has different requirements, so be sure to check with your hauler's website (see below).
  4. Trees are usually collected curbside for two weeks after Christmas, sometimes the whole month of January.
  5. FREE Drop-off locations are also commonly available
  6. If you miss the collection period, you can cut-up the tree and place it in your green (yard waste) container for pick-up on the regularly scheduled service day; assuming your area has a yard waste collection program to which you subscribe.

Click on the links below to find your local Christmas tree recycling options .

Specific local information is given below, where available. If no local information is provided, and you wish to add it, please use the feedback form !

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Specific local information is given below, where available. If no local information is provided, and you wish to add it, please use the feedback form !

[Alberta] [British Columbia] [Manitoba] [Newfoundland] [New Brunswick] [Nova Scotia] [Ontario] [Prince Edward Island] [Quebec] [Saskatchewan] [Yukon]

United Kingdom


  • Greater London and Surrey
  • Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire
  • Northern East Anglia
  • Southern East Anglia (Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire)
  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
  • Northeast England
  • Northwest England (Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside)
  • Hampshire
  • Kent
  • Sussex (East and West Sussex)
  • Cornwall and Devon
  • South West England (Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire)
  • Yorkshire

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
    • Removing the tree: The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up! You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.
    • Tree Recycling / Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check below on this page or with your local department of public works for information. They chip and shred the trees, then make the mulch available for use in your garden. Your hauler will notify you of pick-up dates in your area. There are a few things you must do to make your tree ready for RECYCLING. Here are some general tips - but be sure to check with your local hauler - these are just general guidelines! To find your local hauler:
      If it is Waste Management Inc (WM), click here to find your Local WM Service Provider's Website - or click here to contact Your Local WM Customer Service Center by Phone - find the 1-800 number of your Local Customer Service Center
      If your local hauler is AW / BFI (now Republic or Allied Waste) - Click here to locate the contact information for your local hauler.
    • Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management (Louisiana does both). Ocean beach communities often place them in the sand dunes, where they help to anchor the sand in place.
    • Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds trees make excellent refuge, breeding area and feeding area for fish.
    • Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper. See this article from Perdue University for more information .
    • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden. If you have a neighbor with a chipper, see if he will chip it for you. Be sure to apply garden lime on the mulc to counter the acidity.
    • Paths for Hiking Trails - some counties use the shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers!
    • Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas (It's a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late Fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) NOTE: Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates, than in a northern area.
      In any climate, an indoor plant can make sense, especially in a small apartment or flat.
    • Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and risk a chimney fire.

    And speaking of terrible ideas for used Christmas trees, I am putting together atop 10 list of worst ideas of things to do with your Christmas tree after Christmas.

    Send me your ideas (preferably from real world example, like world's dumbest people videos!

    Trainspotting How to get rid of the Christmas tree and start living: Home: Habitat:

    New Year and Christmas are far behind, the remains of salads from the refrigerator are eaten, sparklers are burned, confetti clogged behind the baseboards, the neighbors stopped listening to Stas Mikhailov and switched on the weekly news of Channel One. It remains to survive the so-called old New Year, and that's it: in fact, the only consequence and witness of the recent festive frenzy is the Christmas tree.

    Dried up, crumbling, with the garland turned off and the toys hanging almost to the floor. No one has added water to the New Year's beauty for a long time, and if he added it, then it acquired an unpleasant brown tint and begins to smell suspiciously. In general, it's time to "cut without waiting for peritonitis." But, firstly, it's a pity, and secondly, laziness. Therefore, we need simple or interesting (or better, both) ways to eliminate the Christmas tree. How to make the green girlfriend stop looming before your eyes?

    The easiest way, of course, for those who have an artificial Christmas tree - dismantled, in a box and on a cabinet. But... What is there to talk about with lovers of non-alcoholic beer and plastic Christmas trees? Our instruction is for those who appreciate the present, no matter how resource-intensive it may be. Moreover, the “problem of the Christmas tree” is in front of them.

    Popular wisdom says: “An artificial Christmas tree is the first step towards a rubber tangerine!”

    So, method number 1: dismember - and into the trash can. Eternal classic. Jack the Ripper and his followers would be pleased. It is best to cut the Christmas tree with an ax, but here you need to be extremely careful, otherwise you can be left without fingers. Another option is to saw the tree. The method is categorically not suitable for those who a) skipped labor lessons at school, b) is an extreme vegan who believes that plants have a soul, and c) by the beginning of the first post-vacation week has not yet got rid of a hangover tremor (in other words, the whose hands are shaking).

    Method #2 will no doubt cause dissatisfaction with neighbors and utilities. But the tree will fly. From the balcony. Moreover, if you throw it strictly vertically, it can successfully stick into a snowdrift and please the inhabitants of the area and the birds wintering in Russia a little more. The stubby rowan trees in the neighborhood look, by the way, no better. Just ask your partner to insure random passers-by.

    Method #3 - burn. Cruel, but effective. Professional firefighters can burn the green beauty without leaving home. Ordinary citizens are recommended to arrange a Christmas tree bonfire in nature, with dances, strong drinks and a good snack. If you wish, you can jump over the flame, as on Midsummer Night - to cleanse yourself and protect yourself from damage and conspiracies and so that “mermaids do not attack and do not come during the year” (popular belief; in fact, for the same purposes, you can simply advise drinking less ). Bonus: you can drive away the kilograms gained over the holidays (at least part of it).

    An original way to eliminate the Christmas tree (number four on our list) was invented by a group of unknown enthusiasts. Entrepreneurial amateur physicists equipped the Christmas tree with a whole bunch of powder jet rocket engines and launched it into space. The flight was steady but short-lived. “Something went wrong” - most likely, the guys simply did not carefully study the aerodynamic properties of the tree. But for just one idea, they can safely put five points. After all, our landfills are already overloaded, so let aliens recycle at least some of the waste. A video of the launch of the Christmas tree can be found on the Internet - the craftsmen installed an on-board camera on its top, which filmed the entire process of the not-so-successful Christmas Tree Odyssey.

    Photo: Aleksey Malgavko / RIA Novosti

    Method number 5, perhaps the most noble - to feed the Christmas tree to the cow. The crisis, by the way, has not been canceled, and it affected not only citizens raving about European tours, blue cheese and jamon, but also ordinary livestock. It is believed that cows, bulls and goats are very fond of chewing spruce branches, for them it is a kind of dessert. Therefore, you can take the green beauty to the nearest farm and hope that the peasants will understand everything correctly. By the way, one American entrepreneur liked this method so much that he founded a public organization that specializes in the disposal of fir trees by feeding them to goats. A resident of the state of Nevada, firstly, is tired of fires that occur due to Christmas trees left in public places, and secondly, he sincerely believes that Christmas trees are a source of vitamins for artiodactyls.

    The sixth way to get rid of the Christmas tree was invented by none other than the great guru of traditional medicine Gennady Malakhov. A popularizer of non-traditional methods of leading a healthy lifestyle believes that a bath with coniferous decoction can be very useful. It is used for "combined purification of colloids of the cell and the internal environment of the body." Cones, needles and branches of a Christmas tree should be brewed with boiling water, let this potion brew, pour into a bath and lie down in it all properly. The slags will go away on their own, without even saying goodbye. You can also take coniferous infusion inside. Beforehand, it is worth removing all the tinsel and garlands from the Christmas tree, otherwise you would not shine with health in the literal sense of the word.

    The seventh and last method is for those who have attained Zen. You just need to accept the fact that the tree is there and will not go anywhere. Or get away, but only when the Universe itself wants it. There are cases when Christmas trees stand up to the holiday of March 8 and even longer. The absolute record is the year-round standing of the Christmas tree. Yes, falling in love with a withered tree is likely to be difficult. But in the end, he got tired of you too.

    How to clean up the Christmas tree after the holidays quickly and profitably - YASIA

    A live Christmas tree is a pleasant smell and New Year's mood. But the holidays end sooner or later, the tree begins to crumble and cause inconvenience. Usually at this moment people take it to the dumpster, filling the floor in the apartment and the entrance with needles from dried spruce along the way. How to get rid of the Christmas tree so as not to clean up after this half day, and how you can use the tree for good, TASS reports.

    Where to start?

    First spread a large sheet or cellophane around the tree. This will help minimize the mess and quickly and easily remove the needles and sawdust that will definitely appear during the removal of the Christmas tree. After that, you can remove toys, light bulbs and tinsel from the tree.

    How to take the Christmas tree out of the apartment?

    If your tree is small, you can wrap it whole in a trash bag or lay it on a sheet, wrap it in cloth and secure it with string or tape.
    If you have chosen a large tree, cut or cut down the branches before taking it outside. This should be done as close to the trunk as possible. Put the branches in garbage bags and take them out with the trunk.

    What to do with needles?

    Even if you have completed the previous steps, some needles will still remain on the floor. They can be removed with a vacuum cleaner. But keep in mind that the needles can damage it.

    Tape can be used to collect needles. By applying it with the sticky side to the carpet, you can easily remove all the needles.

    Christmas tree in a bag, needles removed. What's next?

    Most Christmas trees end their lives ingloriously in a landfill or incinerator after the holidays.

    There are much more useful ways to dispose of them. In some cities, at the end of the New Year holidays, volunteers organize the collection and processing of used fir trees. In the future, they are crushed and turned into chips using woodworking machines.

    How can chopped spruce be used?

    According to experts from the WWF Russia Forest Program, spruce chips can be used as fertilizer, as an alternative fuel for boilers, and even as feed and bedding for some animals. But it is important to remember that on the trees that are handed over for processing, there should be no remnants of tinsel and toys.

    How many people take their Christmas trees to places like this?

    Ecologists say that while most people just throw away Christmas trees, and only a few think about environmentally friendly disposal. According to the experts of the WWF Russia Forest Program, Christmas trees are handed over for processing only by people who are close to the theme of caring for natural resources. The reason for this, among other things, is that people receive little information about such actions.

    In addition, the recycling system in Russia is still not sufficiently developed in principle, adds Roman Pukalov, Director of Environmental Programs of the All-Russian Public Organization "Green Patrol" . “Perhaps the Kremlin Christmas tree will be crushed, treated with sulfates, pressed, and ten clubs will be made from it. But this is not the Russian experience,” , he says.

    Maybe next year it is worth buying an artificial spruce so as not to suffer with a live one?

    Ecologists insist that a live Christmas tree brought home will surely die. “At the waste incineration plant (where the spruce gets from the dumpster) it becomes an additional source of carbon dioxide and, perhaps, gives the city some heat. This is definitely a plus. But it would have been better if it had not been cut down initially, so that it would remain in the woods,” says Roman Pukalov.

    Artificial spruce seems to be more environmentally friendly and economically advantageous, because you buy one product for several years. However, according to the experts of the WWF Russia Forest Program, the disposal of such spruce has a much more negative impact on the environment than the processing of live spruce. Because it is quite difficult to recycle plastic spruce trees, and they practically do not decompose. Once at the landfill, they poison groundwater, and when they get to waste incineration plants, they poison the atmospheric air.

    An ideal option, according to experts, could be a New Year's Eve outside the city, where you can decorate a live Christmas tree that grows on the site. If it is not there, you can always plant a tree yourself.

    Another option is compositions from branches. “If the spruce tree is thinned out a little, it’s even good for the tree,” specifies Pukalov.

    Learn more