How to Recycle an Artificial Christmas Tree

If you took our advice on last week’s post and have just purchased a new artificial Christmas tree, what are your options for disposing of the old one? Rather than simply throwing your old tree in the dump, Tree Classics presents a number of alternatives that will help put your old tree to good use.

Pick up

Around Christmastime, most communities offer curbside pick-up of both real and artificial Christmas trees. These programs vary from city to city, so check with the waste management authority in your area to find out what options are available to you. You may have to hold on to your old tree a bit longer for this to work, but it will be worth the wait.


Non-profit organizations often conduct recycling campaigns to raise money or sustainability awareness. Boy and Girl Scout troops are usually the ones who organize these types of campaigns. You could do a quick online search or call similar non-profits in your area to see what recycling efforts they have in progress—they may even be able to pick up your tree from your residence.

Drop off

Take your tree to a drop-off recycling center in your area. Almost every city or town has a recycling center where you can drop off your plastic, glass, aluminum, scrap metal, paper, or artificial Christmas trees. By having your old tree recycled, you are not only dispose of it properly, you also help the environment.

Before disposing of your artificial Christmas tree or sending it out for recycling, we have a few general guidelines you can follow. Read through these simple steps to make sure your tree is as recyclable as possible:

  • Remove all lights. This could be trickier on a pre-lit Christmas tree, but if it’s at all possible, un-string the wires so the tree can be easily recycled.
  • Remove all decorations. Any non-organic decorations like garlands, tinsel, or ornaments should be removed, as they will interfere with the recycling process.
  • Dismantle the tree. Disassemble your artificial tree, if possible, before sending it to a recycling post. This will make both the transport and recycling process easier.

Repurposing Your Old Artificial Christmas Tree

If you’re more interested in repurposing your artificial tree than recycling it, try cutting the branches apart to create wreaths or garlands you can use to adorn your front door, mantel, or banisters. Depending on the shape of your artificial tree’s branches and foliage, you should be able to use wire cutters to cut them to the length you want and re-use them around your home to add a touch of greenery and freshness. Coupled with festive ribbons, lights, and ornaments, your old Christmas tree will add a lovely, magical touch to the rest of your seasonal decorations.