Going Green With Kids – How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

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Just now getting your holiday decorations taken down and trying to figure out what to do with that real Christmas tree? There are ways to recycle your tree at the end of the season that you might not even be aware of. Here are 9 easy ways to recycle your real Christmas tree.

  1. Check for Curbside Services in Your Area – If your community offers curbside recycling pick-up services, they may accept discarded Christmas trees during at least the first few weeks of the New Year. Check with any existing facilities in your area to see if this is an option where you live. Most curbside pick up programs will require that you remove all lights, tinsel and ornaments before pick up.
  2. Big Box Retailers – Some of the big box home improvement chains like Home Depot in your area may offer free recycling for your Christmas tree at the end of the season, provided that you’re willing to drop it off yourself. As with most recycling options, you will need to be sure that any lights, tinsel or decorative flocking has been completely removed before dropping off the tree.
  3. Brush Pile Roosting Area – If your family enjoys bird watching, one fun recycling option for your tree is to create a brush pile for birds to roost in. Sparrows, finches and other small birds will seek shelter from bad weather in the branches of your Christmas tree, providing them with safety and you with plenty of opportunities to watch them flit about.
  4. Make Mulch – Got access to a wood chipper? Remove all the tinsel or decorations from your Christmas tree and it is a completely biodegradable source that will make great mulch for your landscaping and gardening needs.
  5. Let it Sleep with the Fishes – Movie references aside, a Christmas tree can a great habitat for fish when it’s sunk to the bottom of a lake or pond. When your tree is nestled in the deep waters, fish and other marine wildlife will be able to create habitats within them. Shallow wetlands can also benefit from tree placement, as they provide barriers against soil erosion. Before sending your tree to public shore through, you’ll want to be sure doing so is not against the law in your area.
  6. Planting – While it won’t be an option if you chose to purchase a real tree that was cut down, ball-and-burlap trees are designed to be replanted at the end of the holiday season. To boost your tree’s chances of survival and ensure ease of planting, it’s wise to pre-dig your hole in the autumn, before the ground freezes.
  7. Non-Profit Pickups – Some areas might have non-profit pick up programs like the Boy Scouts of America, who will usually pick up old Christmas trees during a designated period after the holidays for a donation of around five dollars.
  8. Create a Soil Erosion Barrier – If you live on a shore line and are concerned with soil erosion, your Christmas tree can provide an effective barrier against the problem. Coastal and waterfront communities often use old Christmas trees specifically for this purpose, so check to see if such programs exist if you’re not living directly on the water yourself.
  9. Donate Your Tree – Municipal programs that accept donated Christmas trees at the end of the season typically turn them into mulch for park landscaping, cover for hiking paths and other sustainable, ecologically sound products. Looking into the programs that exist in your area can help you determine whether or not donating your tree is an option and figure out the logistics of completing the donation if such programs do exist.
Thanks to Housekeeping.org for this photo and these tips. 


  1. I had no idea a little bird could use my used Christmas tree for shelter. How cute I think I will do that this year instead of pick up.

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