The holiday season is upon us, and it seems consumers and retailers alike begin the Christmas celebration earlier these days than in years past. With that in mind, it’s important for the environmentally-conscious to consider ways in which to recycle real Christmas trees when the holidays pass.

First, contact a local Christmas tree recycling organization. Inquire about pickup dates and times following the holiday season when trees will be collected. Inquire about whether curbside pickup will be available or if you will need to load up the tree and carry it to a recycling drop off location.

Also, be certain to inquire about the condition in which trees must be collected. Most likely, trees will need to have all traces of decoration, including lights, garland, foil icesicles and ornaments, removed. This is for the protection of those collecting the trees, as well as for any equipment that may be used in the recycling process. In other words, the Christmas tree will most likely need to be in its raw, natural form.

If an organization devoted to Christmas tree recycling does not exist in your city, contact local recycling companies or local municipal offices to inquire what the city may offer or have knowledge of with regard to Christmas tree recycling options. Sometimes municipalities may offer a seasonal drop off location for Christmas tree recycling or may work in conjunction with arborists, tree farms, botanical entities, forestry commissions or greenhouses for recycling purposes.

Second, consider working with an Austin arborist or other professional who has access to the necessary equipment and have your Christmas tree turned to mulch. Use the mulch on your landscape. Place it around the trunks of landscaping trees or add it to flower beds. If you have no need for the mulch, but want to use this method as a means of recycling your tree, consider giving the mulch to a neighbor who could use it or donating it to a local tree company or municipality department, such as urban management or parks and recreation, that could put it to good use.

Third, the bark of the trees can be used for chipping. Again, if you cannot use the results of chipping, but want to use this as a means of tree recycling, offer the chips to a neighbor who can use them, a local school, church, or business, or a municipality department. You may also find that areas with nature or hiking trails may be interested in acquiring the chips to align the paths. For the best results, hire an Austin tree trimming professional to generate useful chips.

A local horticulturalist may also have use for or benefit from either donated mulch or wood chips. Contact one to see if they accept donated material from your recycled Christmas tree.

Finally, consider how the wood from the tree, itself, may be recycled into useful and functional purposes. Consider donating the wood to a local woodworker or to a woodworking or art teacher who can make use of the wood teaching classes, especially those for children, the elderly, or the disadvantaged. Contact local schoolteachers you may know about any science lessons regarding trees or recycling. Or contact an Austin tree care specialist for other ideas about how the wood could best be used, either as a part of your landscape or in other creative, useful ways.

About the Author: Andrew Johnson is the owner of Central Texas Tree Care, a leading provider of Austin tree service in Central Texas. Certified ISA Austin arborist services including: tree trimming, tree removal, tree care and oak wilt treatment. For more information on Austin tree service, please visit

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