How to Recycle Your Christmas Wreaths and Trees

Tim Ahern | December 29, 2017

We love our Christmas wreaths and all the joy they bring to each person who received one. One thing we don’t love? The idea that a Christmas wreath or tree could contribute to waste. There are actually several ways to recycle your Christmas wreaths and trees, without much hassle. Additionally, there are benefits to recycling these items!

Benefits of recycling Christmas Wreaths & Trees

Wreaths and trees bring much joy to the holidays as well as wonderful smells, but what can they provide after the holiday season?

1. Flu Fighters

All of us as flu and cold season aficionados recognize the drug, Tamiflu. The needles of certain types of Christmas greenery contains an element called shikimic acid which helps in the production of the drug.

2. protectors

Using the strength of Christmas wreath and tree branches, workers set up fences to protect beaches and wetlands from erosion and/or the damage caused by hurricanes.

3. Fish feeders

In private fish ponds, when branches are sunk into the bottom, they provide refuge and a feeding area for fish.

4. Pathways

Shredded trees are used by many cities and national parks to create a solid and environmentally sound path for hikers.

5. Life supporters

Since trees are biodegradable, the branches can be removed and chopped up into mulch for gardens.

How to recycle your Christmas wreaths & trees

There are several options for recycling Christmas wreaths and trees. Some take a little effort whereas others take hardly any at all. Rather than letting the item go to waste, find whichever option works best for you.

*General sidenote on preparing your wreaths and trees for pickup: 

  • Don’t put them in a bag.
  • Remove all decorations (lights, ornaments, garland, fake berries etc.).
  • Don’t attempt to recycle trees or wreaths that have been painted, sprayed or contain wire you can’t remove. These should be thrown away.

1. recycling centers

To partake in some of the healthy options listed above, a first option is to bring your wreaths and trees to the local recycling center. If you’re uncertain whether or not your center takes them, you can call before you lug it over.

2. Curbside Pickup

Another, somewhat more convenient option, is to check your local town or city’s website to see if they offer curbside pickup for Christmas trees. If there is no information there, again, give your city recycling center a call as they typically coordinate this effort. Usually, it works so that you can leave your wreath and/or tree on the appropriate curbside for recycling in the first few weeks of January.

3. community organizations

Several Boy Scout troops and other community organizations also collect Christmas wreaths and trees for recycling. Ask around to see if this is the case in your neighborhood. If you’re a troop leader or organizer yourself and want an example of how to get this set up, check out Recycle for Good and how they created a web page. Others simply set up a temporary Facebook event as seen below.


4. new decor out of your old wreath

If you are feeling crafty, you can typically reuse the branches for outdoor decor, the sprigs for potpourri or the wiring used in some wreaths to make new ones. This article from Today’s Homeowner has several great ideas and instructions.

5.  Mulch or compost for garden, bonfire wood

If you are a gardener, Christmas wreaths and trees can be used to make your own fertilizer. An article from Compost This corrects some incorrect methodologies and points to the best ways to do this.

Similarly, the wood makes excellent firewood for an outdoor bonfire if you trim the tree down and use the logs. Just be sure you don’t use it in your own fireplace as it can be hazardous.

How to recycle an artificial Christmas tree

Though all of our wreaths are made of real trees, if you have an artificial tree, we want to encourage proper steps are taken. Please use it as long as possible and don’t just dispose of it when you’re done. Try gifting it to a family member or donating it to your local charities. If nothing else, you can typically recycle the stand for scrap metal.

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and continue to take care of the planet with us!