The Best Ways to Dispose of your Real Christmas Tree

Now that your tree is done harboring various tinsel, lights and perhaps a mischievous elf or two, it’s time for it to go. But what’s the best way to make sure that is done responsibly?

The folks at Will County Green have a few suggestions!

1. Check with your municipality.
Some of them (like Naperville and Aurora) offer curb-side pick up of your natural Christmas trees, or at least a drop-off program.

2. Hold it until Spring!
Stash it in an inconspicuous area of your property until the warm weather comes around. Wildlife can use the old tree for shelter, and when city yard waste collection starts again, you can chop it up and dispose of it in yard waste bags or bins.

3. Drop it in a pond! 

If you have a pond on your property, you can toss it in there for aquatic wildlife to use for shelter then just let nature take it’s course! Just make sure its YOUR pond or you get permission from the owner to do so. The Forest Preserve of Will County offers the following advice:

Christmas trees can also create good shelters and feeding spots in ponds. If you have a pond on your property, drop your tree in it and let nature take its course. Fish and other aquatic creatures will use it as shelter, and it will soon start to grow algae, which will become a food source, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. One important note: Make sure you have permission from the property owner before trying to submerge your tree in any body of water. Christmas trees cannot be left in Will County preserves.

4. Burn it, baby (if allowed in your neck of the woods)!
Chop that sucker up for some good firewood. Christmas trees make good fire wood…for outdoor fire pits! Evergreens produce quite a bit of sap and can burn quick and hot, so maybe not ideal for an indoor fireplace. It’s also best to let it sit outdoors for a few months to dry it out. Obviously, burning it whole instead of chopping it up can be dangerous, so make sure you have the proper environment for something like that. You know what…just chop it up. Better for everyone that way. You can also use that ash as as compost, according to the forest preserve: The ash from the tree contains a lot of lime, potassium and other nutrients that will help your plants grow and thrive. 

One last idea from the FPDWC:

If you want to keep the holiday spirit alive in your house a little longer, consider cutting off a few sprigs from your evergreen tree, the Arbor Day Foundation suggests. As long as the sprigs have still-green needles, you can simply tuck them into sachets or small fabric or paper bags and it will smell like Christmas in your house all year long.

Whatever you do, be smart and try to avoid just dumping it in the trash.

Happy New Year!