How To Recycle A Christmas Tree

As the holidays come to an end it may be tempting to throw out your Christmas tree with the next trash collection day or even rent a large dumpster (our personal favorite is Affordable Roll-Offs) to get rid of the tree. However, there are simple ways to recycle your Christmas tree instead of having it end up in a landfill. Not only does recycling a tree prevent it from releasing harmful methane gas while it decomposes in a landfill (check out more information about the damage that comes from sending a Christmas tree to landfills here), it can also be a turned into something that can be used again and again!

Top Ideas To Recycle A Christmas Tree

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Recycling a Christmas to mulch is gaining in popularity. Mulch is material that is typically added on top of top-soil to improve the health of the soil, help conserve water in the soil, and even reduce weed growth. Christmas trees are through a wood chipper which turns them into much needed mulch. Many Colorado cities offer a pick-up service or provide a drop-off location for Christmas trees that will be recycled to mulch. For a full list of locations and pick-up times and dates, click here.

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Composting is becoming increasingly accessible (check out this article for more details) for many residents in Colorado. Very basically, composting is the process of keeping organic waste, such as food, out of landfills and letting it naturally decompose into compost that can be used in gardens. Christmas trees can be turned in to compost! In order to speed up the decomposition process we recommend cutting the tree in to small pieces and removing the needles. The needles are very hard to break down, therefore it is better to leave them out of the compost pile (there are ways to recycle needles – keep reading!). In time, the tree will be broken down and can be used in gardens or other planting projects.

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Keep your house smelling festive for weeks to come after the holidays! Needles from a Christmas tree can be recycled to delicious-smelling potpourri! A simple way to make potpourri is to combine needles, spices such as cinnamon or cloves, and citrus peels in to a simmering pot. Keep the temperature on low and enjoy the festive smell for hours in your home! An added bonus, the smell is completely natural! Keep harmful chemicals found in spray and even candles away!

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Feed A Goat

An unusual way to recycle a Christmas tree? Donating it to goats! As it turns out, goats are huge fans of munching on trees. Although it may seems unlikely that any animal would find the needles appetizing, goats seems to appreciate the sweet taste of the sap inside! Check out local farms that are in need of Christmas trees and see if you are able to donate. For more information about farms looking for trees in Colorado check out an article from Fox 31 News.

Make Rustic Coasters

A Christmas tree is perfect to make rustic coasters for your home or as a nice gift for someone else! The process to recycle a Christmas tree to a coaster is fairly easy. First, remove branches from the tree so that you are left with the trunk and thickest parts of the length (we recommend 4 inches in diameter). Next, chop the tree into smaller portions and let the logs dry for at least 6 months in a dry, temperature controlled area. After the drying process, slice the logs into 3/4″ pieces using your favorite saw and sand them to make them smooth to the touch. Finally, finish with any choice of wood finishings such as shellac or stain.


If you have an outdoor fire pit Christmas trees make great firewood! PLEASE NEVER USE CHRISTMAS TREES AS FIREWOOD INDOORS! The needles are extremely flammable and can send sparks out in to your home. The smoke also causes the chimney to become dirty which increases the likelihood of a chimney fire. However, burning the dried logs and needles in an outdoor fire pit can make for a nice evening under the stars.

How To Recycle A Christmas Tree: Preparation and Cleaning

Preparing a Christmas tree to be recycled is an important step no matter which direction you choose to go. Be sure to remove all decorations from the tree including lights, ornaments, tinsel, garland, or anything else that has been put on the tree. To remove the tree from your home without creating a huge mess of needles, we recommend investing in a tree bag such as this one from Amazon that is recyclable and biodegradable. This will contain needles as the tree is moved indoors to outdoors. Finally, do not try and vacuum huge amounts of needles as they may clog the machine. Instead pick up large needles by hand and use the vacuum for smaller debris. It is never a bad idea to have your home professionally cleaned after recycling a Christmas tree to ensure that any dust, mold, pollen, or even insects are not left behind (Check out this cleaning company in Denver!)

Other Options To Recycle A Christmas Tree

If none of the options above to recycle a Christmas tree are realistic for you, please take the tree to a local tree drop-off location. Nearly every city in the Denver Metro Area offers a convenient location to drop off Christmas trees (list courtesy of Affordable Roll-Offs):


The City Parks Maintenance Shop at 7800 W. 62nd Avenue is accepting trees 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Friday, beginning Wednesday, December 26, 2018 thru January 18, 2019.
Lake Arbor Lake Park at 6400 Pomona Drive is accepting trees beginning Wednesday, December 26, 2018 thru January 21, 2019. No restricted days or times.
Stenger Fields at West 58th Avenue and Oak Street is accepting trees beginning Wednesday, December 26, 2018 thru January 21, 2019. No restricted days or times.


Residents can recycle their Christmas trees at one of three local drop-off sites. Drop off your Christmas tree anytime from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8 for recycling at the following locations:
Del Mar Park, East Sixth Avenue and Peoria Street (west parking lot)
Olympic Park, 15501 E. Yale Ave. (east of Chambers Road)
Saddle Rock Golf Course, 21705 E. Arapahoe Road


Drop off your tree at the Yard Waste and Wood Drop-off Center or Curbside collection also available. 303-444-2037.

Delta County

Delta Solid Waste Management Authority (DSWMA) operates the recycling center for Delta County. They recycle Christmas trees from December 26 through January 26, Monday to Wednesday 8 am to 3 pm, Saturday 8 am to noon.

Colorado Springs

Please recycle your Christmas tree at one of the locations listed below:

December 29 & 30, 2018 and January 5 & 6, 2019; from  9:00 AM to 4:30 PM at:
Baptist Road Trailhead (Baptist Road & Old Denver Highway)
Falcon Trailhead (SW of Woodmen Road & McLaughlin Road)
Cottonwood Creek Park (Dublin Blvd. & Montarbor Drive)
Sky Sox Stadium (Barnes Road & Tutt Blvd.)
Rock Ledge Ranch (Gateway Road & 30th Street)
Memorial Park (Pikes Peak Avenue & Union Blvd.)


Residents in the city of Denver are able to set their Christmas tree out with their regular trash collection days thanks to Treecycle. For more information check out the Denver City Website.

Douglas County

Drop-off dates: Dec. 26 through Jan. 31,


Bayou Gulch, 4815 Fox Sparrow Road, Parker
Challenger Regional Park, 17299 E. Lincoln Ave., Parker
Fairgrounds Regional Park, 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock
Highland Heritage Regional Park, 9651 S. Quebec St.
Castle Rock, Drop-off dates: Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, Hours: Anytime, Mulch: Available to the public at Metzler Ranch Park while supplies last.
Founders Park, 4671 Enderud Blvd
Metzler Ranch Community Park , 4175 Trail Boss Drive
Paintbrush Park, 3492 Meadows Blvd.

Contact Information: Douglas County Parks at 720-733-6990.

Highlands Ranch

Drop-off dates: Dec. 25 through Jan. 17, 2020.

Dad Clark Park, 3385 Asterbrook Cir.
Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Cir.
Toepfer Park, 9480 Venneford Ranch Rd.

Contact Information: Highlands Ranch Metro District at 303-791-0430


Drop-off dates: Dec. 25 through Jan. 29
Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Salisbury Park (East paved parking lot), 12010 S. Motsenbocker Rd.

Contact Information: Town of Parker at 303-840-9546

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