Once the shreds of wrapping paper have been discarded and the left-overs of holiday feasts have been consumed, the focus turns to getting rid of the Christmas tree. Please, DO NOT throw your Real Christmas Tree in the trash! Real Christmas Trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Here are some recycling options and tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays.
Ornaments, stands, lights, artificial trees and wire wreaths are NOT ACCEPTED. Please remove trees from plastic bags. Trees will be chipped and used for compost or mulch.
Carver County Environmental Center
Carver County residents can self-haul their Christmas trees to the Carver County Environmental Center for recycling. This service is available from Thursday, January 2 through Thursday, January 30, 2020 and is free to Carver County residents. Please note that yard waste (grass and leaves) and brush will NOT be accepted as the Environmental Center no longer accepts those materials. Visit the Environmental Center page for hours and location.
Private Hauler Curbside Collection
Contact your private refuse hauler to ask if they collect real Christmas trees for recycling. Some haulers offer this service for free to their customers and some charge a nominal fee ranging from $5.00 to $8.00. Residents with seasonal curbside yard waste collection typically receive this service at no additional charge.
Private Compost Sites
The following compost sites are owned and operated by private entities and are open to residents and businesses year round. Please call ahead to inquire about disposal fees, hours of operation and delivery instructions.
14800 Johnson Memorial Dr (Hwy 169)
Shakopee, MN 55379
Boy Scout Curbside Collection
Chanhassen, Chaska, and Victoria
Boy Scout Troop 337 will be collecting Christmas trees door-to-door and delivering them to a compost site on Saturday, January 4, 2020 for a fee of $10. This event will help raise funds for the troop’s annual operating expenses and camp scholarships along with providing a service to residents in disposing of their trees properly and conveniently. To take advantage of this service, you must sign up for it by Saturday, December 28, 2019.
Email Troop 337 at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, and phone number, and they will provide you with any further details.
Please Note: The Boy Scout collection is not a Carver County program. For more information on the program, please contact Boy Scout Troop 337.
Cities with Christmas Tree Recycling Programs
The following cities offer no charge Christmas tree recycling options to their residents.
Residents can drop off trees at the City of Cologne Public Works garage, 304 Louis St W (roll-off box south of the Cologne City Public Works garage) through Friday, January 17, 2020.
Mayer and New Germany
Residents can drop off trees at the City of Mayer yard waste site. Visit the Rural Recycling Drop-Off Site page for hours and location.
Norwood Young America
Residents can drop off trees at the City of NYA yard waste site located at 640 Tacoma Blvd.
Residents can drop off trees at the City of Waconia Public Services Facility located at 310 10th Street East on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. starting Thursday, January 2, 2020 through Friday, January 17, 2020 and on Saturday, January 4, 2020 and Saturday, January 11, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Call (952) 442-2615 with any questions.
The Watertown-Mayer High School Ecology Club will be picking up trees curbside on Saturday, January 4, 2020. Place your tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on that day. Residents can also drop off trees at the City of Watertown yard waste site located at 700 Lewis Avenue North.
Other Recycling OptionsSoil erosion barriers
Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management. Christmas trees even helped the sand dunes in New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy!Fish feeders
Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.Bird feeders
Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper. See this article from Perdue University for more information.Mulch
A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden. If you have a neighbor with a chipper, see if he will chip it for you.Living, rooted trees
Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas. (It’s a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.Did you know? Holiday Lights can be recycled too!
Holiday lights can be dropped off at NO CHARGE at the Environmental Center.