How to recycle/dispose of Christmas trees

How to dispose of your cut tree

From your single-family home or townhome

We accept Christmas trees year-round in our curbside yard trim collection. Set your Christmas tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on your recycling collection day.

Christmas trees are given a new life after being composted or chipped for mulch, so keep the tree in a natural state.

  • Remove the stand and all decorations, including lights, ornaments, tinsel, and garland. Be sure there is no metal attached to the tree.
  • Remove any plastic bags from your tree.

"Live" Christmas trees with root balls and artificial trees cannot be collected as yard trim.

You can also recycle branches and needles at home by placing them under trees and shrubs as a temporary winter mulch -- or chop them up and add them to your compost pile!

From your apartment or condominium

Residents of apartments and condominiums: check with your property manager or representative for specific recycling instructions.

Property managers of apartments and condominiums: if your residents are permitted to have live Christmas trees in their units, make arrangements in advance for special collections. Christmas trees must be recycled per Montgomery County Executive Regulation 15-04AM.

  • Contact your solid waste/recycling collector or landscaping contractor to schedule special pick-ups in December and January; confirm with the collector that the trees will be mulched. Or, self-haul the trees to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station.
  • Notify your residents of the special collection schedule so they know when and where to bring their trees, wreaths, and roping. Trees must not be placed in roll-off containers with bulk trash and other debris.
  • Keep records, including the number of collections, pounds of material collected (or number of trees collected), and to where the material was taken so you can complete your Annual Recycling and Waste Reduction Report. Your contractor should be able to provide you with this information.

How to dispose of your artificial tree

If you have Montgomery County-provided trash collection service

If you have Montgomery County-provided trash service, request a bulk trash pickup for your artificial Christmas tree.

If you have privately-provided trash service

If you have privately-provided trash service because you or your homeowners' association have direct contract with a company, check with your collection company for instructions.

If your artificial tree is still in usable condition

If your artificial Christmas tree is still in usable condition, consider offering it for reuse on your neighborhood email list, Craigslist, your local Freecycle group, or similar places.

How to dispose of your wreaths and roping

Wreaths and roping are typically bound together with wire. Wire could damage our shredding equipment. And, pieces of wire would become "contaminants" in mulch.

If you can separate the greens from their wire, bag or bundle them as yard trim, and set them out for collection on your recycling day. Otherwise, dispose of your wreaths and roping as trash.

Use "recycled" Christmas trees as mulch

We shred the Christmas trees we collect for recycling, resulting in a very good quality mulch. Therefore, January and February are excellent months in which to stock up — at no additional charge! — at Neighborhood Mulch Preserves.

 

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