How to Recycle your Christmas Tree

Category: Sureset Blog

Posted 3rd January 2020 by Anne Shave


Whether you have a real tree or an artificial one, what to do with it once you have used it or no longer need it can become an issue. Do you recycle it, or throw it away…?  How do you recycle your tree? hopefully the below options will give you an idea with what to do with yours.

Christmas Tree Facts!

  • In the UK alone up to 8 Million Real Christmas Trees will be brought over the Christmas period.
  • It can cost the taxpayer nearly £100 for every 40 Christmas Trees sent to landfill.
  • Real Christmas Trees are better for the environment if recycled properly. An artificial one can take many centuries to fully decompose.
  • According to the Carbon Trust “It’s better to burn your Christmas Tree than send it to landfill. Christmas Trees that end up in landfill sites decompose and produce methane gas which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide”

Finding ways to recycle your real tree is a minefield, so here some practical tips:

Replanting a real Christmas tree

If you brought your tree with a root ball you can replant this, but before you buy…

Make Sure your tree was sold with the root ball still intact. It should come covered in a piece of burlap to protect its root system. A tree with roots can’t be kept indoors for as long as a cut tree, due to indoor conditions (central heating) meaning you can only keep them indoors for 1 to 1 ½ weeks, having them inside longer reduces the chance that your tree will adapt to the outside environment.

To dispose of any real Christmas tree;

  • Safely cut it up and burn

Making Mulch with a real Christmas tree

You can mulch your tree and turn into nutrient-rich compost, by either having it chipped by a woodchipper, or turning it into a new compost heap. You can trim the smaller branches off and use those as the bottom of the pile (this allows airflow) then add larger ones on top, you might have to do some chopping on the larger trunk areas, but they will all break down in time. You can also keep your tree on your patio for the needles to drop off, collect to use for acid-loving plants Blueberry and Rhododendrons.


Arrange a collection for real Christmas trees

  • By a private company

There are plenty of companies on the web that will charge you a nominal sum to pick your tree up and dispose of it correctly for you.

  • Local council

Your local council might do a Christmas tree recycling scheme, or tree pick up, again recycling them by chipping, which can make paths or even turning them into compost for your garden.

  • Local Charities

At SureSet we help one of our local Charity’s Dorthey House, members of our staff go out in their own time and help collect and recycle unwanted trees. The trees are chipped and shredded for recycling. Most charitable organisations will have postcodes and a timetable on their website with a link to book your tree in and to place your donation.

And let’s not forget Artificial Trees, used by many around the world let’s help you decide what to do with yours…

Unfortunately, as these are made from mixed materials, you are unable to recycle Artificial Trees at the moment.

  • Re-use

They are designed to last, so keeping its original packaging (box) and storing it in the loft, garage or even garden shed for another year will do no harm and save unnecessary waste. If your tree is in good condition you could donate to a Charity Shop, School, Nursey or even a Nursing Home.

  • Upcycle your Artificial Tree

Another way to recycle your “Fake” tree is to repurpose it. The branches can be turned into garlands and wreaths for next year – add additional lights and other decorations to really dress them up.

There are plenty of ways to recycle your old tree whether it be real or artificial, you can be charitable or just choose an eco-friendly way that suit’s you.




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