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How To Dispose of Real and Artificial Christmas Trees

You know by now that for us at Old World Christmas the Christmas spirit is alive and well all year long. Though your neighbors may throw you some shade if your Christmas tree is still up at this point in the year, but we’d never judge you for that. In fact, we’d commend you and give you a gold star for championing year-round Christmas spirit. You and Buddy the Elf have a lot in common. Whether you have a tree up or not, at some point it will be time to dispose of the tree (we still won’t judge you if that happens in the summer), and there are proper ways to dispose and recycle both real and artificial trees. 

Disposing a Real Christmas Tree

If you do still have your Christmas up in April, we’re guessing it’s not a real tree from a tree lot. At this point in the year it would be very brittle and dried out, and we should warn you that it’s probably a fire hazard. Get your vacuum cleaner ready because when that tree finally gets hauled out, the remaining needles will do their best to remain forever. If you’re like the regular Christmas fans that get their tree from a tree farm or tree lot at the beginning of December, we have a few ideas on how to properly dispose of your Christmas tree in January. 

Because we’re a Christmas ornament company, making the most beautiful glass-blown ornaments on the market, our most important tip when disposing your Christmas tree is to double and triple check that there are no remaining ornaments on your tree. Small ornaments or ornaments that blend in can be hard to see, and once that tree is out on the curb your special, heirloom of an ornament will be long gone. This goes for lights too. They’re easier to spot, but make sure they’re off the tree before the tree heads out. 

Many home-improvement stores sell Christmas tree bags for easy removal and clean up. Get one of those, shimmy it over your tree, and voila, your tree is contained, with very little mess, and ready to be dealt with outside. If you have the capabilities, and yard waste services, cut the branches off the tree and cut the stump into two or three pieces, depending on the height of the tree. Put the smaller pieces into the yard waste bin for pick up, and to be turned into mulch. If your tree is too big with too many branches, divide it up, and put the second batch of branches in the bin the following week. 

Often a local boy scout troop or other non-profit, for a minimal cost, will provide a Christmas tree pick up service or a drop off location. That’s a win-win. Your tree is gone and you supported a good cause.

Disposing an Artificial Tree

An artificial tree takes the guesswork out of the Christmas tree experience. We’ve all felt the horror of getting a live Christmas tree home and in the base only to discover a gaping bald spot of missing branches or unusual crick in the trunk making the tree lean ever so slightly. For a no-fuss, simple Christmas tree experience an artificial tree is where it’s at. They can easily last a decade and never lose their shape or color, nor do they drop pesky pine needles. However, disposing of an artificial tree takes a bit more thought to do it with the environment in mind. Artificial trees are made of PVC which is a difficult plastic to recycle, so these trees can’t be put into the recycling bin. If the tree is in decent shape most second-hand stores will take them, fluff them back to life and resell them come the winter months. Another way to dispose of the artificial tree is to “plant” it outside. Though it will never take on new life, if strategically placed, it could blend in well tucked behind other plants and shrubs. One thing to note about flocked trees, and this goes for flocking on real or artificial trees, is that the white powdery flocking is not recyclable or compostable, so we recommend not having a flocked tree.

Whether you’re a year-round celebrator of Christmas, or a traditionalist, your tree is a focal point during the season, and needs to be disposed of properly. Keep these tips in mind when the time comes to dispose of your real or artificial Christmas tree. 

April 15, 2021 by Rachael Mitchell

Written by

Rachael Mitchell

Rachael Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, and has over 15 years of writing experience. She’d never be able to pick just one favorite ornament, but narrowed it down to the S’more and Tennis Ball. She always looks forward to s’mores in the summer with friends and family adding gourmet ingredients, and played 4 years of college tennis in the mid-west.

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