How to dispose of or recycle your Christmas tree

Little ginger boy standing beside a christmas tree reaching for the ornament at the top of the tree

How to dispose of or recycle your Christmas tree

Chances are, if you have a Christmas tree, you’re either going to pack up your artificial tree after the holidays or you’re going to rush to get your real tree out of the house before it sheds any more needles on your nice clean floor. At 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we properly dispose of Christmas trees every year, so let us help you figure out how and where you can recycle real and artificial trees!

Regardless of the type of Christmas tree you’re recycling, be sure to remove all garland, ornaments, and lights first, as they may not all be recyclable or may cause problems for the recycling facility.

How to recycle real Christmas trees

Natural Christmas tree decorated and standing beside a couch in a living room

There are a few options to dispose of your real tree responsibly:


If you have a compost bin or pile, you can cut up the Christmas tree into smaller pieces and compost it. First, remove any decorations or non-biodegradable materials. The tree will decompose over time, adding useful organic content to the compost.

Curbside recycling:

Many local towns offer curbside Christmas tree pickup services. See if your local waste management or recycling center provides this service. The trees are typically chipped or composted.

DIY crafts and projects:

Repurpose your Christmas tree for a variety of DIY projects. You can, for example, cut thin slices of the trunk to make rustic coasters or larger chunks to build decorative log pieces. Wreaths, garlands, and other craft decorations can be made from the branches. Look for ideas online and let your imagination lead you.


You may recycle your Christmas tree into mulch for your garden or yard. Remove all of the ornaments, tinsel, and lights from the tree, and then turn it into mulch with a woodchipper or with the help of a local mulching service. Spread mulch around your plants and trees to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

How to recycle artificial Christmas trees

Middle age woman sitting beside an artificial Christmas tree, putting ornaments away in a box

First off, can you even recycle artificial Christmas trees? Yes, but in general, artificial trees are difficult to recycle, so try to get as much use out of yours as possible. When it comes time to get rid of your plastic or tinsel tree, there are several options for disposing of it properly.


If your artificial Christmas tree is in good condition, consider donating it to a local charity, community center, school, or church. Many groups accept old artificial trees for future holiday events or to give festive decorations to people in need.

The Christmas season is also the giving season, so if you have more items you want to donate, check out our in-depth guide on how to donate to charity.


Check with your local recycling center or waste disposal facility to find out if artificial Christmas trees may be recycled. While not all recycling sites may be able to recycle artificial trees, certain specialized facilities can. Make sure to follow any drop-off or collecting instructions they provide.


Repurpose your artificial tree for other ornamental or functional purposes. You may take the tree apart and use its branches to make DIY crafts, wreaths, or garlands. The trunk or stand can be used as the foundation for various projects, such as a coat rack or a tabletop centerpiece.

Sell or give away:

If your artificial tree is still in good condition but you no longer want it, try selling or giving it through internet marketplaces, local classified advertising, social media groups, or even to friends and family. Someone else might be seeking a cheap or free Christmas tree.


Consider upcycling different portions of the tree instead of discarding the whole tree. The branches can be reused as pieces in other decorations, the PVC or metal frame can be used for garden trellises or plant supports, and the artificial needles can be used in art projects or as fillings in other crafts.

Let 1-800-GOT-JUNK? get rid of your Christmas tree

1-800-GOT-JUNK? team carrying a dry christmas tree away, while a man is standing beside them smiling

If you’ve decided to junk your Christmas tree, whether it is natural or artificial, let 1-800-GOT-JUNK? be your Christmas tree removal service.    
At 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we’ll do our best to divert materials away from landfills whenever possible, by donating the donatables and recycling the recyclables. Let us pick up your Christmas decorations and make them disappear!

Learn more about what we take or contact your local 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise for a free, no-obligation quote. You can also check out our blog for more helpful topics such as understanding your carbon footprint.

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