Creative (and green) ways to reuse and recycle your Christmas tree

Real Christmas trees are great for getting in the holiday spirit. Not only do they look great as the centerpiece of your festivities, but they add a scent that would remind anyone of the holidays. Real Christmas trees can also be a great, environmentally friendly alternative – as long as you dispose of it correctly after the holidays are over! Keep reading to learn more about the eco-friendly ways to dispose of your tree this holiday season.

City of Austin Tree Recycling program

The City of Austin provides two of the easiest ways to recycle your tree.

  1. Curbside Collections: COA curbside customers can simply leave their tree at the curb before 6:30 A.M. on their regular collection day. They ask that you remove all decorations and do not place the tree in a bag. Also, if your tree is over six feet tall, it will need to be cut in half.
  2. Zilker Park Drop-Off: Even if you’re not a City of Austin customer, you can drop off your tree for recycling at Zilker Park. Again, they ask that you remove all decorations and do not place your tree in bags. You can drop off your tree between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. on Dec. 30 and 31 and Jan. 6 and 7.
    Trees collected at the Zilker Park dropoff will be turned into mulch which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting Jan. 18.

Compost your tree

This method isn’t for everyone as it requires a bit of equipment and an existing compost pile. Your real Christmas tree is, of course, totally biodegradable so it would make an excellent addition to any compost heap. All you have to do is shred it using a wood chipper before you add to your pile. If you want to be even more eco-friendly, you can prune the branches off and then saw into small pieces using virtually no electricity.

Check out the video below from GreenShortz DIY for an easy tutorial on how to break down your tree.

DIY decorations and garden features

There are many ways to creatively reuse your Christmas tree. You could create wreaths or window boxes, provide shelters for birds or fish, create edging for your garden out of the stumps, or simply slicing smaller trunks into coasters.

Here are a few of our favorite DIYs to reuse your Christmas tree:


Use it for firewood

This one seems obvious, but you can always chop up your tree and use it as firewood! That said, here’s a pro-tip for you: make sure your wood is completely dried out before burning it. Most people suggest allowing the wood to sit stacked in a cool, dry place for 6 to 12 months in order to dry properly.

You can see there are many ways to take care of your Christmas tree in an environmentally safe way. What’s your favorite eco-friendly way to discard of your christmas tree? Take a photo of your family reusing or recycling your tree and tag HCC on social media!