Buying a New Artificial Christmas Tree this Year? Here's What to Do With the Old One - Backyard Boss
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Buying a New Artificial Christmas Tree this Year? Here’s What to Do With the Old One

If it’s time to say goodbye to your old tree, you probably have some questions. Which tree should you replace it with? But more importantly, you should wonder how to dispose of an artificial Christmas tree. There are several ways in which you can get rid of your tree, so take the time to learn about your options. Then, you can move on to finding an even better replacement.

How to Dispose of Your Artificial Christmas Tree

There are a few ways you can dispose of an artificial tree, and a few ways you can’t. If you’re wondering how to dispose of an artificial Christmas tree, the number one thing to know is that you can’t recycle your tree. Unfortunately, most recycling centers do not recycle artificial Christmas trees. You need to either throw your tree out with your regular garbage, or come up with another way to get rid of it.

All of the following are ways in which you can get rid of your tree.

donation tree for organization with stuffed animals for children

Donate Your Tree

If you purchased an artificial tree to minimize your environmental footprint, you probably don’t want your tree to end up in a landfill. It won’t completely break down, so your tree will simply take up room in the landfill. In fact, they take over 500 years to degrade. If you’re getting an artificial tree to help the environment, you need to think of other ways to recycle your tree.

While you can’t literally recycle your tree, you can reuse it. If your tree is in good condition, you can donate it to nonprofit organizations, thrift stores, and others in need. Use social media to find people who are in need of Christmas trees. You can also call your local senior center, hospital, or retirement home and ask if they need your tree.

As a last resort, post on social media and ask if anyone is in need of a tree. Every holiday season, people struggle to make ends meet. By giving someone a free Christmas tree, you make life a little easier for them. Instead of spending all of their money on a tree, a parent can spend some money on presents or a nice family meal.

If you do plan to donate your tree, just make sure it has all of the pieces. It should have all the pieces necessary for assembly. However, someone might be willing to take a tree that’s missing a few lights or imperfect in other ways. Be sure to remove any personal ornaments from the tree, or you risk losing them forever.

Place It at the Curb

Instead of wondering how to dispose of an artificial Christmas tree is to throw it out. In most cities, the garbage collection company will take artificial trees. If you leave your tree curbside before a pick-up, you can leave your tree in their hands.

Before you decide to do this, find out whether or not your city allows for artificial tree disposal. You can look online or call your local garbage company to get answers. You might need to wait for a bulk pick-up or break your tree into small pieces and leave it in the trash bin.

If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord about disposing of your tree. Failing to ask about it means you could be faced with a fine.

Does It Matter If It Has Lights On It?

While some trees are prelit, others aren’t. It’s important to know whether or not your tree has lights on it. You can throw out your tree if it has lights on it, just know that it’s not an environmentally friendly decision.

Drop It Off

Depending on where you live, there may be some places that take fake Christmas trees after the holidays. Call your local landfill, home improvement store, and government organization. They might be able to advise you on drop-off locations and times.

Whatever you do, don’t take your tree somewhere unless you’re certain it will be accepted. Lugging it around can be a hassle, so be certain that you can successfully drop it off.

mmini christmas tree decoration centerpiece with ceramic santa

How to Reuse Your Artificial Tree

Recycle, reduce, reuse! There’s a lot of reusable material in an outdated or unwanted Christmas tree. If you break it down into its components, most trees have dozens (if not hundreds) of branches that can be turned into other decor. Here are a few items that you can fashion from your dismantled tree.

Mini-Tree Centerpiece

You can re-purpose your tree into a much smaller Christmas decoration. To get started, cut off the top of your tree. If you have bolt cutters or a saw, you can get a clean cut. Make it as tall or short as you want. However, keep in mind that the tree will be a centerpiece for your table. You don’t want it to be so tall that it obstructs your view.

Once the top is cut, place it in a mason jar or vase. Decorate the tree top or the vase as much as you want. If you want to be festive, buy mini ornaments and place them on the tree top. You can use ribbons on the vase to add some color.

Make a Wreath (or Three)

Using a few branches from your tree, you can make a beautiful wreath. Take wire cutters and use them to cut off about six or seven branches from your tree. Cut the branches near the center of the tree, then bend each one into an arch shape. To make a circular shape, bend the branches and overlap them. Keep them together by connecting the branches with zip ties or wires.

Once the branch part of your wreath is ready, you can decorate it. Depending on your style, you can use ornaments, pine cones, or ribbons to complete your wreath. Head to your local craft store and look for decorations to add.

If you want to use more of your tree, make multiple wreaths. You can give some away as Christmas presents. To make some money for the holidays, sell your wreaths online. Try selling them on Facebook, or build your own website.

reuse Christmas tree branches by making wreaths with needles

Napkin Rings

You can also repurpose your tree into napkin rings. Cut small branches from the tree and make them into small circles. Then, decorate them as you want. Use your napkin rings to hold napkins during your next holiday party.

Once again, you can turn your crafting into a profitable venture. You might be able to sell some of your napkin rings, and use the money for presents or a new Christmas tree. If you’re feeling especially creative, think of other ways to turn your tree into a craft.

Year-Round Tree

If you’re tossing your tree because you’re just not that into Christmas, you might consider leaving it up all year and decorating for seasons, holidays, or other events you do enjoy.

year round christmas tree ideas butterflies rainbow upside down and cinco de mayo

Sell It

You may be able to sell your Christmas tree to someone else. If it’s not worse for the wear, sell your tree online. You can market your tree on social media and see if anyone is interested in buying it.

When you list it, be sure to include pictures. If you don’t have any images of it from previous holidays, assemble your tree and take new pictures. Include all of the details you know about the tree, from the height of the tree to the features. Be as honest as possible, or you’ll end up wasting your time.


When you’re ready for a new artificial Christmas tree, start thinking about how to dispose of an artificial Christmas tree. You have several options, and it’s up to you to choose the right one. No matter how you choose to get rid of your tree, know that you can do so safely.