You’ve decked the halls and trimmed the tree to perfection, but now that the holiday season is coming to an end, how do you dispose of, or recycle, your Christmas tree?

Christmas tree disposal doesn’t have to be stressful, and a real tree may actually be better for the environment. If you know how to dispose of your Christmas tree, your Scotch pine might not feel like such a royal pain.

Since you can’t simply toss your tree in a dumpster, we’ve rounded up some of the most common ways to recycle your Christmas tree to keep the giving spirit alive.

Christmas Tree Disposal Options

Curbside Christmas Tree Disposal

dispose of christmas tree

Dispose of your Christmas tree properly.

Many cities and towns have a yard waste collection service, or allow you to leave your tree out at the curb, making your Christmas tree disposal a breeze. After you’ve taken the decorations off of your tree, place it in a tree disposal bag to carry it out to the curb.

Christmas Tree Recycling

Many cities now offer Christmas tree recycling programs, or treecycling programs. Some local areas offer curbside pickup, while others may require you to drop off your Christmas tree for recycling at a specified location. If your community has a mulching program, they will chip and shred your discarded Christmas tree. Then, in the spring, you can pick up the recycled tree mulch for use in your yard for free. Each city is different so be sure to check with your local department of public works for detailed information.

Craft Your Christmas Tree Into a Decoration

If you have a creative side, give your tree new life as another decoration in your house.

If your tree hasn’t yet let go of its needles – and you haven’t yet let go of Christmas – get crafty with it. Cut off small branches and bind them around a circle of wire to make an attractive wreath.
American Christmas Tree Association

Using Your Christmas Tree for Firewood

Repurposing your Christmas tree for firewood or kindling is one of the most common uses. Just remember not to burn wood from your Christmas tree in an indoor fireplace. The sap can stick to the inside of your chimney and cause a chimney fire. Let the repurposed wood dry out for several months before using in an outdoor fire pit or in a bonfire.

Donate Your Christmas Tree

Research environmental organizations who accept and recycle Christmas trees in your neighborhood.

Communities have programs in place where they will take your old Christmas tree, drill a hole in the base, tie a brick to it and throw it in a lake. When humans create artificial lakes, they tend to be relatively featureless on the bottom for easy dredging. Christmas trees provide a nice, temporary place for fish to hide.
American Christmas Tree Association

Enjoy the Holiday

If you’ve been hesitant to bring a real Christmas tree into your home in the past for fear of a messy disposal process, fear no more. A real tree isn’t for everyone, but for those considering a real Christmas tree next year, give it a shot and make your Christmas a little bit greener.