Whether you have plans for disposing of a real or artificial Christmas tree, we’re here to help.
I’ve always loved the holidays and have been known to start decorating with my Christmas decorations as early as November 1st. I’m one of those who can’t wait for Halloween to be over so I can be out with the spooky and in with the jolly. There’s just something about Christmas that sparks joy in me. It could be me reminiscing about all the joyous holidays that I spent with my mother and father as a child, or even with my own kids as an adult.
However, when it comes to Christmas trees, we all have a preference. I’ve only had a real Christmas tree a few times in my life, and while I love the smell that they elicit during the holidays, the maintenance and then disposal can be a nightmare. On the other hand, with an artificial tree, I can decorate it, put it away after the season, and simply bring it out again when the new season begins.
When it comes to the holidays, the joy of decorating takes almost everyone (except for the Grinch) by storm. For many, it’s a time to either pull out their old Christmas tree, while for others, it means going to purchase a new one, whether real or artificial. However, when the holidays are over, most are left wondering, “How do I dispose of my Christmas tree?”. Here’s how to do so as environmentally-friendly as possible.
Disposing of a Real Christmas Tree
For those with a real Christmas tree, disposing of it is relatively simple, although it can be a bit time-consuming. First, make sure to remove all the decorations first. To avoid any unpleasant surprises from falling ornaments when taking it out of your home, carefully inspect and remove all lights, garland, tinsel and other decorations before bringing it outside for disposal.
Once the tree is bare and ready to go, you have a few options on how you can proceed with its disposal. One way is to simply put the tree out at the curb with your regular trash. However, be sure to cut off the branches before disposing of them in your yard waste bin. If that’s not an option in your area, many cities offer special pickup days dedicated exclusively to Christmas trees collection. Alternatively, you can check local recycling centers in your area as they may also accept Christmas trees for composting.
Taking down the tree doesn’t have to be hard when you’re armed with a lot of patience and energy, but if you prefer, you can also recycle your Christmas tree as well.
Five Ways to Recycle a Real Christmas Tree
- Have Your Tree Mulched
If you have a playground in your backyard, you can turn your tree into mulch and have it as a soft landing spot for your kids. You can also use that mulch in your garden which can help prevent soil erosion and help retain water.
- Create a Turtle Habitat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggests turning your Christmas tree into an underwater turtle habitat. All you need to do is place it in a pond or lake, making sure that the top of the tree is above water so turtles can take shelter among its branches.
- Make Potpourri
Consider filling a bowl with dried pine needles and stems that have fallen off your tree. Add some cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon slices, and dried juniper berries for a refreshing aroma. You can also add some essential oils to make the scent even stronger!
- Turn It Into Firewood
Rather than throwing away your Christmas tree if you have a fireplace, you can make it into firewood. Cut the branches off and use them as kindling or tinder. You can also burn the main part of the tree in large chunks. This will also come in handy when you want to build a campfire during the winter months.
- Donate It To A Local Recycling Center
Many local recycling centers are more than happy to take your old Christmas Tree away! If you don’t want to bother with cutting it down yourself, give them a call and they will come and pick it up.
Disposing of an Artificial Tree
Disposing of an artificial Christmas tree isn’t as straightforward as throwing away a real one. As long as it’s still in good condition, you can either donate it or sell it online (or at a garage sale, if you prefer). If not, check with your local solid waste company on how they recommend disposing of the tree. Due to their lack of biodegradability, it’s not recommended that these trees be put out with regular garbage pick-up – unless your local recycling program allows for this.
Again, remove all decorations from the tree before taking it apart. Some trees are made up of several parts that can easily be taken apart and disposed of separately – and some come pre-lit! Once you’ve taken the tree apart, look for any local recycling centers near you that accept plastic materials as they may also have a program to recycle artificial trees.
Some companies will accept artificial trees during certain times of the year for recycling. However, most communities offer specific dates when these trees can be dropped off at designated sites for curbside collection or taken to landfills and incinerators.
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If you’ve opted for a living/potted Christmas tree this season, remember that they should not be thrown away after the holidays; instead, transplant them into larger pots or re-plant them outside in well-drained soil if possible. We know how hard plants can be to properly care for – so if you’re unable to re-pot or replant your potted Christmas tree, contact your local garden center, which may be able to help you find the right home for your tree!
At the end of the day, disposing of your Christmas tree is all about being conscious and responsible with how we treat our environment. Whether you choose to dispose of your real or artificial Christmas tree in the most sustainable way possible, there’s no denying that recycling and reusing are two tasks that should be done year-round. So whether you’ve got a real pine tree or an artificial one, here’s wishing you a happy and eco-friendly holiday season!
Now that you know how to dispose of a real or artificial Christmas tree properly, it’s time to enjoy the holidays! From all of us here at AnnMarie John, we wish you and yours happy and safe holidays. Merry Christmas!
Happy disposing! 🙂