Green Manolo » 5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

By Christa

Unless you’re one of those people who religiously takes down your Christmas tree on the first of January, there’s a good chance it’s still sitting in your living room, possibly looking a little worse for wear at this point. I can understand why it’s still up. In addition to the whole tedious business of taking off all the decorations, there’s also the question of what to do with the thing. Unless you have a fake Christmas tree, in which case it will go back to living in the basement for the next 11 months, it’s time to start thinking about how to dispose of the Christmas tree. Put it in the trash? No way, that’s for amateurs. Recycling the Christmas tree? Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Make a Big-Ass Bird Feeder
Old Christmas trees make awesome hiding places and roosting spots for passing birds – especially if you lure them to it by “decorating” your tree with peanuts, orange slices, cranberries, strings of popcorn, suet, and seeds. Just stay away from starchy decorations, as these will attract raccoons and chipmunks instead of birds. If you don’t have a lot of places for wild fliers to hang in your yard, this is a great way to recycle your Christmas tree and invite some native birds to spend part of the winter with you and your family.

Cut Out Some Coasters
For those without fireplaces or access to community tree recycling programs, branches can be used in compost or on top of flower beds for the rest of the winter… but what to do with that pesky trunk? Turns out the trunk of your old Christmas tree might be just the right diameter for coasters. All you have to do is saw off as many rounds as you like (from the dry part of the trunk, not the part that was in the water), sand the rounds smooth, varnish or seal them (do one side and let dry before flipping), and then attach felt dots to the bottom.

Extend the Festivities With DIY Garlands and Potpourri
It’s amazing how long those needles with stay green and fragrant if you’ve been taking good care of your Christmas tree. And it’s not that difficult to weave a garland or turn green pine needles into a sweet smelling potpourri with the addition of cloves, cinnamon, dried orange peels, and other nice stuff. Make one or both, and you can extend the holiday season without being one of those people who keep their tree up until April.

Mulch It!
Do you have a neighbor with a chipper? Or maybe you just have a lot of post-holiday aggression to get out and you’re handy with a saw. Either way, it’s possible to mulch your own Christmas tree given the time and the right equipment. For those without access to a chipper, some towns have mulching events where anyone can walk in with a Christmas tree and walk out with a free bag of mulch.

Or Just Find Your Local Recycling Center
…and let them handle it. Many locales provide pick-up service between certain dates because old Christmas trees become free mulch for city property, but if yours doesn’t, you may be able to drop off your tree at a Christmas tree recycling center somewhere nearby. Try ringing up your town hall to find out how and where you can make your tree someone else’s responsibility.

4 Responses to “5 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree”

  1. Gamma Says:

    A dried-up Christmas tree is about as flammable as an open container of gasoline, which is to say, explosively flammable. If you choose to use it as a bird feeder, keep it well away from any buildings or fences. And please keep it away from your

    My tree this year was tiny and fake, but one memorable year we nearly burned the house down trying to burn a few branches in the fireplace. I like the sound of mulching and recycling, myself.

  2. Gamma Says:

    Amendment to the above: “please keep it away from your fireplace.”

  3. Whitney Says:


  4. Sopata Says:

    All new to me; I had no idea you could do anything with an old Christmas tree besides toss it!

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