A naturally grown wreath or Christmas tree is the perfect backdrop for the holiday season. Sadly, your fresh pine decor doesn’t stay fresh forever. When the needles start browning and dropping, give some thought into how you will get rid of your naturally-grown decor. There are many easy ways you can reuse your natural decorations. Your pine decor can be used to “spruce” up your yard (pun intended) with borders and mulch, or become a piece of backyard habitat for wintering birds and cuddly critters. If you prefer an easy alternative, simply find out how and when your city or county will accept Christmas trees for collection. In most cases, naturally-grown Christmas trees and wreaths collected by your locality are mulched or composted to reduce landfill contributions. The mulch or compost material created from the trees is a low cost way for your city or county to maintain parks and shared green spaces right in your community. Some localities are even able to sell excess mulch or compost back to the public. Talk about buying local…your spring mulch could be made from your Christmas tree!
But before you send off your Christmas tree or wreath, remember to remove all lights, tree stands and decorations including tinsel, ornaments and wires. Painted trees or those that are flocked (aka covered in fake snow) can’t be recycled either. Only the natural parts of your trees and wreaths can be accepted for mulching and composting.
And don’t forget! Christmas lights and most decorations do NOT belong in your curbside recycling container. Consider donating unwanted but working ornaments and decorations to a local school or secondhand store instead. For a complete list of materials you should be recycling at home this holiday season, you can review this handy holiday recycling guide.
So now that you know its time to make sure all of our holiday waste ends up in the proper place this year! Happy Holidays from askHRgreen.org!
As of this date, the following cities and counties have announced their natural Christmas tree recycling/pick-up schedules.
Chesapeake | Gloucester | Hampton | Isle of Wight | James City County | Newport News | Norfolk | Poquoson | Portsmouth | Smithfield | Suffolk | Surry County | Virginia Beach | Williamsburg | York County
When: Dec. 27–Jan. 13
Where: Trees will be picked up on the regular trash collection day. Trees placed at the curb between January 3 and 13 will be recycled.
What to know: Remove all ornaments, tinsel and the stand. Place it separately from bulk waste and regular trash so it can be easily collected. Please do not put in a bag or put netting around it.
Where: Residents may place Christmas trees in the brush container at any Gloucester County Convenience Center during regular hours. See the list below for locations.
- Middle Peninsula Landfill and Recycling Center – 3714 Waste Management Way (Entrance on Route 17). The Convenience Center at the Landfill operates on the same schedule as the other County Convenience Centers: Monday – Friday 8 AM to 7 PM and Saturday 7 AM to 7 PM.
- Belroi – 5122 Hickory Ford Road
- Dutton – 10430 Burke’s Pond Road
- Court House – 6550 Beehive Drive
- Hayes – 7599 Guinea Road
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Trees will be mulched along with other yard debris. Mulch is provided free of charge to county residents from the main landfill location. However, residents are strongly encouraged to call ahead to ensure mulch is available for pickup.
Where: Trees will be picked up at curbside on regular trash collection day. Residents can also bring naturally grown trees to be recycled at the Yard Waste Transfer Site, 100 N. Park Lane (off Big Bethel Road at entrance to Bethel Landfill) from 8 AM to 3 PM. Monday – Saturday (closed city holidays).
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Place natural trees separate from bulk waste and regular trash. Do not put in a bag or put netting around it. Artificial trees should not be placed with leaves, grass or tree branches. Trees will be mulched or composted at the VPPSA Composting Facility. Mulch and compost are available for purchase by the public at the composting facility.
Where: Natural Christmas trees can be recycled at any of Isle of Wight’s Refuse & Recycling Centers.
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Trees will be composted.
Information coming soon
Where: Natural trees are recyclable as regular brush, and may be placed on the curb as brush collection.
What to know: Please remove the root ball and any non-natural decorations including tinsel and lights. Place tree in a brush pile separate from any bulk being set out. Christmas trees (live or artificial) may also be brought to the Recovery Operations Center located at 550 Atkinson Way. Trees will be composted or mulched.
Where: Natural trees are collected for composting on regular trash day as part of Norfolk’s yard waste collection service. In addition, residents can bring natural trees, holiday lights and artificial trees to the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center – 1176 Pineridge Road, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM – 2 PM. Artificial trees may also be scheduled for bulk waste collection by calling the Norfolk Cares IMPACT Center at (757) 664-6510, or by completing a request online at www.norfolk.gov/BulkWasteForm
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights.
When: Dec. 25–Jan. 20
Where: Residents can drop off natural trees to be composted at the Municipal Pool Parking Lot (16 Municipal Drive, Poquoson)
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Trees will be mulched or composted at the VPPSA Composting Facility. Christmas trees and yard waste are accepted year-round at the VPPSA Compost Facility (located at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, York County), Monday – Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM. Mulch and compost are available for purchase by the public at the composting facility.
Information coming soon
When: Through Jan. 12
What to know: You must contact Kathy Bew-Jones at 365-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your address if you have a Christmas tree to be picked up. Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, garland and lights. Trees will be composted.
Information coming soon
When: Jan. 1-Jan. 31
Where: Surry County Collection Centers (listed below)
- Goodson Path Solid Waste Station – 409 Goodson Path, Dendron
- Pineview Solid Waste Station – 101 Pineview Road, Waverly
- Mantura Road Solid Waste Station – 60 Mantura Road, Surry
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel and lights. Please ask attendants for assistance to ensure that your tree is placed in the designated container.
When: Normal trash collection day
Where: Curbside or the Virginia Beach Landfill and Resource Recovery Center at 1989 Jake Sears Road with proof of residency.
What to know: Christmas trees will be handled as normal yard debris and need to be free of any decorations or tinsel. All trees and yard debris will be mulched.
When: Jan. 3 and Jan. 9
What to know: The City Crews will be collecting Christmas trees on Tuesday, January 3 and Monday, January 9. Trees must be placed at the curb before 7 AM and should be free of the stand, ornaments and lights. Please place separately from bulk waste and regular trash. Trees will be mulched.
When: Jan. 2-Jan. 6
Where: Curbside – tree must be at curb by 7 AM on January 4 for collection that week
What to know: Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, lights and should be no bigger than six feet in length. For all York County residents, including non-subscribers, Christmas trees are accepted throughout January at the VPPSA Compost Facility (located at 145 Goodwin Neck Road, York County), Monday – Saturday, 8 AM – 4 PM. York County residents who subscribe to the trash program may bring yard waste to the VPPSA Compost Facility year-round.