How To Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Your Christmas tree may appear dried and dead, but it still contains valuable nutrients, so don't throw it out! Post-harvest trees can be chipped and used in a wide variety of ways (garden mulch, beachfront erosion prevention and river delta sedimentation management, even lake, river shoreline, and fish habitat stabilization), so treecycle your tree today!

Curbside Recycling: Check with your local waste management company to see if they're providing curbside Christmas tree pick-up. In New York, for example, the NYC Department of Sanitation will be conducting special collections for mulching and recycling of Christmas trees beginning on Monday, January 3 through Saturday, January 14, 2012. Trees will be chipped into mulch that will be distributed to parks, playing fields, and community gardens throughout the city.

Local drop-off. Earth911's TreeCycle Program encourages Christmas tree growers around the nation to support responsible, end-of-life practices for the millions of Christmas trees that will be bought and sold this season. Find a local Christmas tree drop-off location through their extensive database. You can also check to see if your city is having any special Christmas tree recycling events. New York City's Mulchfest 2012 is on January 7-8. City parks will host over 35 chipping sites and 35 additional drop-off locations. Donate your tree, or else chip it into your very own bag of mulch to use in your backyard.

Tree Recycling Preparation: Make sure your tree is free of any of its festive decorations. Remove and all ornaments, tinsel, and garland. Note: trees flocked with decorative artificial snow are not eligible for recycling in most programs. Also, you should NEVER burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high content of flammable turpentine oils, and burning the tree could contribute to creosote buildup and a possible chimney fire.

Image: Jen Chung for Gothamist