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Sustainable Santa: Christmas tree recycling made easy

Christmas trees are a must-have during the festivities – but do you know how to dispose of a Christmas tree? Learn all about Christmas tree recycling here.


By Cleanipedia Team

christmas tree recycling

Key steps

  1. Check online to stay ahead of the game and see when collections might happen.
  2. While you’re there, check to see if your local rubbish tip is a good alternative to collection. You might be surprised by local services – so make sure you’ve explored all possibilities.
  3. Consider buying a container-grown tree which, if looked after properly, you could use year after year.  

We all love Christmas trees: bright lights, the smell of pine, the atmosphere it brings to the home at this special time of year. When Christmas has been and gone, though, you’re left with a dead tree in the middle of your house, dropping pine needles everywhere.

Getting rid of a Christmas tree can feel like a hassle, but don’t worry: just read on to find out how to dispose of a Christmas tree, including when to call time of death on your tree, how to minimise needle drop, and where to recycle Christmas trees.

Before you put up your Christmas tree, give it a good shake outside the house. This way, any needles that are already coming away will fall off outside and not in your living room when you start decorating.

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Christmas tree recycling

Most local councils offer a Christmas tree recycling service. It normally starts in early January, so check online or pick up the phone to find out when collections are likely to happen. You’ll need to strip away all the decorations and tinsel before you put it out to be recycled.

If your council doesn’t offer a collection service, you might be able to take yours to your local rubbish tip. Again, check online or over the phone to find out where to recycle Christmas trees locally to you. If your council can’t help, look for local garden centres that might take them. Some might offer you a discount on your next purchase in exchange.

If getting rid of the Christmas tree is looking hopeless, you can recycle yours in other ways. If your local council takes green waste or compost, you can cut the branches down and put them in your green waste bag or compost bin. The trunk can be used to support climbing plants or chopped up for firewood.

The life cycle of a Christmas tree

That’s how to get rid of a Christmas tree, so let’s talk about when. When the needles have turned brown and started falling off, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas tree disposal.

In the meantime, here’s how to prolong the life of your Christmas tree:

  • Keep it away from radiators and heat sources. Pine trees like their surroundings to be cool and damp. Trees might look grand next to a roaring fire, but if you keep yours too warm then you’ll need to dispose of the Christmas tree sooner than you thought.
  • Use decorations that give off minimal heat. Filament bulbs are out; LED tree lights are in. Avoid candles too – they may look traditional but they are a dangerous fire hazard.
  • Water your tree, even if its roots have been cut off. Christmas trees need water the same way cut flowers do, so be sure to keep an eye on its moisture levels. The more moisture a tree retains, the longer it keeps its needles, and the less you need to think about Christmas tree recycling.

Ultimate Christmas tree recycling

Level up your tree conservation and consider buying a container-grown Christmas tree. These have been grown in their pots, meaning there’s no damage to their roots when they’re transported. They can be taken outside when Christmas is over, and if you take good care of your tree, you’ll be able to use it again and again. Your Christmas tree disposal worries could be a thing of the past!

There you have it: helpful tips on how to dispose of a Christmas tree, and how to help keep its needles on. For more tips on how to have a sustainable Christmas, see this article.

Originally published