Michele Berger
Published: 01/03/2011

Image: Scott Feldstein, Flickr Creative Commons

Yes, we’ve waved goodbye to holiday season 2010. But that doesn’t mean you need to chuck your Christmas tree in the trash. Instead, this year, try recycling it. There are more than 4,000 programs across the country, and if there’s not one near you, you can always start one yourself. After all, you have 356 days until next Christmas.

Last year, we wrote about MulchFest, a program run by the New York City Parks Department, the New York City Department of Sanitation, and GreeNYC that transforms trees into woodchips. It’s happening again this year, Sat., Jan. 8 and Sun., Jan. 9 at 70 sites across the five boroughs. (Remember to remove all lights and ornaments before hauling your evergreen.)

On the other coast, San Diego’s hosting its 37th Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program, through Sun., Jan. 23. At 16 spots around the city, residents can drop off their used trees. Sorry, no artificial trees accepted. This program also offers in curbside pick-up, as long as trees are set out appropriately and those longer than 4 feet are cut in half.

In Denver, any trees collected and recycled during the city’s two-week program in January—run by Denver Public Works Solid Waste Management—become mulch given away free to city residents in May 2011, during the annual Treecycle Mulch Giveaway & Leaf Drop Compost Sale. Note, there are specific pick-up dates for this program, so check the website for details.

If you’ve searched for “Christmas tree recycle” and your town and come up with nada, think about creating a program for next year. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, it’s pretty easy. Contact the organization at (636) 449-5070 or e-mail You can also check out the Association’s Recycling Manual for ideas.