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How to Dispose of Christmas Tree Safely and Effectively

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It’s that time of year again! The holidays are over, and Christmas trees are coming down. Many people are now wondering how to dispose of Christmas trees properly. If you’re one of those people, then you’ve come to the right place.

The National Christmas Tree Association estimates that they sell 35 to 40 million real Christmas trees annually in the US. Leaving Christmas trees undisposed, especially the dried ones poses a high risk of fire in your home. It’s recommended that you dispose of your Christmas tree in an eco-friendly manner.

In this article, we will give tips on how to dispose of a Christmas tree safely and effectively.

How to Dispose of Christmas Tree

There are various ways to dispose of your Christmas tree. However, it depends on whether it’s natural or artificial.

How to Dispose of Live Christmas Trees

Unlike an artificial Christmas tree that you can store and use the following year, live trees need to be disposed of. A live tree can last for about 4 -5 weeks in ideal conditions before decomposing.

Here are ways you can get rid of your live Christmas tree:

Curbside Pickup

Dropping your Christmas tree at the curbside for However, it depends on your location. Wildlife preserves can use some curbside pickup trees to improve wildlife habitation. Check to see if this service is available in your area. If there is, schedule a pickup day to remove the tree.


  1. Remove the decorations: Get your storage boxes, and remove all the decorations, including the light, tinsels, cables, and ties. As you do this, look for damaged lights or wires and throw them away. Store the decorations properly, ensuring you don’t break the light. In addition, it’s good to arrange them depending on their type.
  2. Remove the stand: Remove the tree from its stand and cover it with a plastic bag. This helps prevent leaves or sap from messing with your floor. In addition, drain the tree stand if it has water remaining. You can clean it to remove any needles stuck on the stand. Then put the stand in its box and store it away.
  3. Carry the tree to the curbside: Ensure you place the tree correctly to avoid blocking any pathway, sidewalk, or road.

Note: For any disposal method you’re going to choose, ensure to follow the first steps above of removing decoration and stand.

family setting up their christmas tree during the day

Recycling for Your Use

One of the best advantages of live trees is that they are biodegradable, making them recyclable. Here are a few ways you can recycle your Christmas tree:

  • Firewood: If you have a fireplace, you can use your Christmas tree as fuel. Trim away the branches using a hacksaw, then, depending on the size of your tree, cut the trunk into small pieces. Leave the wood to dry for some time.
  • Mulching: If you have a yard, you can easily turn your real Christmas tree into mulch. Use loppers to remove branches from the trunk and shred them using a shredder. You can also cut the wood into small pieces and shred it or dry it for firewood. Allow the mulch to dry, and use it in your garden and around trees. It can help retain moisture and suppress weed growth keeping your plants healthy.
  • Compost your Christmas tree: If you have a compost bin, you can cut up your tree and add it to the compost. Cut into small pieces for the compost to break down quickly. The tree will eventually break down and provide nutrients for your plants.

Donate Your Christmas Tree

You can give your Christmas tree to a charity organization for a small donation. On top of the money they collect, they recycle the trees to raise funds to help the needy such as those with terminal illnesses.

Take It to the Nearest Drop-off Point

You can drop your Christmas tree at Home Depot (or any other point), where local sanitation services will pick it up for recycling. Some of these trees are turned into mulch to be used in parks or added to lakes for fish.

Alternatively, locate a local recycling center near your area and take the tree there if there are no drop-off points near you. Furthermore, local recycling programs can help you dispose of your Christmas tree. Statistics show there are more than 4,000 local initiatives that recycle Christmas trees. So, contact the nearest to your home.

Replant Your Christmas Tree

You can replant your Christmas tree in your garden. However, this only applies to trees with roots or potted ones. It’s challenging to replant, but it is possible with good care and maintenance. Seeing your Christmas tree thriving and giving your garden an aesthetic appeal is rewarding.

Furthermore, donating the tree for replanting in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, among others, is also a good way to dispose of your Christmas tree.

How to Dispose of Artificial Christmas Trees

The best thing about artificial Christmas trees is that you can use them more than once. You only have to store it properly so it will still look like a new one the following Christmas.

There are a few ways to eliminate your artificial Christmas tree since most are made of PVC plastic. Here is how to dispose of Christmas tree and tips on storing your artificial tree:

Donate Your Christmas Tree

If the tree is still in good shape and you don’t have plans for reusing it, you can donate it. Here are some places you can give the tree:

  • Local churches or schools
  • Nursing homes or non-profit organizations
  • Orphanages
  • Home improvement retailers

Give to Local Recycling Programs

It’s hard to recycle artificial Christmas trees because some use non-recyclable materials. Others may come with fixed ornaments. However, you can search for manufacturers or local recycling programs nearby.

Curbside Pickup

You can place your fake Christmas tree by the curbside. Most cities allow this, so call them and find out. It’s also good to reach out to them to get the exact details, such as the day and time.

Toss It in the Dumpster

You put your Christmas tree in a dumpster with other garbage. Ensure to break it down for it to fit in. You can contact the service provider to confirm if it’s allowed, as different cities have different rules.

Repurpose Your Christmas Tree

You can express your decorating creativity by using the branches to make beautiful wreaths, garlands, and mini artificial trees. However, it’s good to note that tree color can fade, especially in direct sunlight.

family setting up christmas tree in a darker room

How to Store an Artificial Tree

There are two common ways to store artificial trees for reuse.

Storing in a Tree Bag

This is the most commonly used method of storing artificial Christmas trees. Ensure the bag is big enough so the tree can stay a little fluffy inside the bag. Furthermore, a bigger bag will prevent fixed decorations from breaking. You can also use different bags if you feel the one it came with is too small.

Wrap Your Christmas Tree with a Plastic Wrapping

You can wrap your Christmas tree with plastic wrap. Did you know some people don’t remove the decorations when storing their Christmas trees? They wrap them with all the decorations on them to make the job easier for them the next time they put up the tree. But doesn’t this take away the fun and traditions of decorating Christmas trees? Be the judge!

Avoid storing your tree in warm places. Where to place your Christmas tree will depend on where you live. For example, if you live in Texas, keeping your tree in the garage or attic can be a bad idea, especially during the summer.

Can You Saran Wrap a Christmas Tree?

You can wrap your Christmas tree with saran wrap. However, it’s not the best for the job. First, it’s time-consuming, and you might need help wrapping it. Second, It’s not environmentally friendly like tree bags. Once you use the wrap, it’s hard to reuse it.

The best is to use a big plastic bag/sack large enough to fit in the tree.

Can I Throw My Real Christmas Tree in a Dumpster?

It depends on where you live. Some municipalities allow people to put the tree in the regular garbage, while others may require you to take it to compost sites. Check with your local garbage company to see if they have any special rules or requirements for disposing of a Christmas tree.

If your garbage company allows you to put your tree in the dumpster, they will require you to cut it up into smaller pieces. This is to prevent the tree from taking up too much space.

How to Dispose of Your Wreaths and Roping

You can hang real and artificial wreaths and garlands to bring cheer into your home. Also, like your Christmas tree, you can shred live wreaths and ropings and use them as mulch or compost. However, first ensure to take apart the wreath, garland, or roping to remove all the wire wrapping, ribbons, or plastics. Furthermore, you can donate artificial wreaths, lights, and other ornaments if they are still in good shape. Otherwise, you can throw them away in the garbage.

two presents for the holiday season

Happy Holidays From ONIT Home

Hopefully, you now know how to dispose of Christmas tree safely. When getting rid of your Christmas tree, avoid burning it as it can easily cause a home or wildfire. In addition, the smoke from burning the tree pollutes the environment, especially since the tree is not dry. So next time you’re ready to get rid of your Christmas tree, think about recycling or donating instead of burning or dumping it.

From all of us at ONIT Home, we hope you enjoy the holidays with your friends and family!

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