How to Recycle a Christmas Tree

Did you know that the UK uses approximately 8 million real Christmas trees each year? And out of the 8 million, only 1 million are recycled or reused the way they should be.

How to Recycle a Christmas Tree

This means around 7 million Christmas trees end up in landfill every single year creating huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

So what can we do to avoid this problem? Follow out steps below to find out how to recycle a Christmas tree and we can take small steps in making the festive period just that little bit more sustainable.


What to do with your Christmas Tree After Christmas

Whether you have a cut, potted or artificial Christmas tree there are plenty of things that you can do with them after the festivities are over to help reduce your carbon footprint.


Recycle or Replant your Tree

For potted trees…

Potted trees can be repotted or planted out in the garden as they still have their roots attached. Simply plant into a larger pot or straight into the ground so it can carry on growing and even reused again next year with the proper care. See our guide on how to replant your Christmas tree.


For cut trees...

For cut trees, these need to be recycled. Usually, your council will have a local collection and recycling service which will be found on their website. In most cases your tree will be turned into compost and used in parks or woodland areas.

You can also find a local drop off point at the tip used for garden waste and dispose of your tree here.

Use the recycling locator to find your local council recycling scheme by entering your postcode.

Some local nature reserves may also be able to take your tree off your hands, they are used widely in coastal areas to stabilise sand dunes.


For Artificial trees...

Having a real tree at Christmas is always the most eco friendly option as there are green ways of recycling them. Due to the combined materials of artificial Christmas trees they cannot be recycled so make sure you choose a tree that you will be using year after year.

Create Shelter for Wildlife

There is plenty of wildlife still in the garden over winter that will be looking for shelter or a warm place to hide. Make them their own little habitat using tree branches and stacked up bits of trunk.

The branches with needles can be placed in a corner as a warm cosy spot for hedgehogs to hide, just make sure you check out what’s underneath before moving them in spring.

For the main trunk, cut into short lengths and stack them up for critters to take shelter. This also works with length of twigs, bundle them up and tie with a piece of string before hanging them amongst the trees.

Turn into garden mulch

Christmas tree needles

Your acid loving plants such a blueberries will love a good layer of pine needle mulch to help them grow throughout the year.

To use the whole tree, you may need a shredder so if you don’t have one check if there are any local services to rent one (or even see if your neighbour has one you can use.)

Once your tree has been shredded, allow it to rot down a little bit before putting on your garden. Find out which areas of your garden will benefit most from a Christmas tree mulch.

If you don’t have access to a shredder, start by removing the branches and shaking off all the needles. These can be placed around the garden to decompose slowly, nourishing the soil.


Make wooden coasters

As cut trees can’t be replanted, why not make something out of the trunk instead? Saw off small round pieces from the tree trunk and you have a ready made coaster perfect for hot drinks.

They can be sanded down and stained to a desired colour or even painted if you’re feeling creative. Once they’re been decorated, ensure to seal them to stop any sap leakage!

Use as Firewood

If none of the above methods seem to suit you and you have a wood burner at home, simply cut up your tree, dry it and turn into firewood. The needles on the branches create a satisfying crackle as they burn and it saves you having to go out and buy wood for a while.

You could even have a bonfire on a cold January evening and toast some marshmallows with family to say goodbye to the Christmas period and welcome in the new year.