Cut down on holiday waste by recycling Christmas trees

Published Date

After the holiday festivities wind down, Clark County Public Health urges residents to recycle their Christmas trees, rather than tossing them in the trash.

From Thanksgiving to the New Year, holiday waste accounts for an additional 20 to 25 percent increase in trash, including Christmas trees. The National Christmas Tree Association estimates 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year. Clark County is among the top counties in Washington for cut trees.

Before trees are recycled, all lights, tinsel, wire, ornaments and stands must be removed. Flocked and artificial trees cannot be recycled and should be placed in the garbage.

Waste Connections will pick up trees from customers with yard debris or organics collection or regular garbage service available in most parts of the county. Taller trees must be cut into smaller sections no longer than 5 feet, regardless of whether they will be collected as yard debris, organics, or garbage.

To recycle trees, Waste Connections customers with yard debris or organics service can:

  • Place trees smaller than 5 feet in the yard debris or organics cart at no extra charge
  • Place a single tree, cut into sections of 5 feet or less, next to an empty yard debris or organics cart at no extra charge
  • Place a single tree, cut into sections of 5 feet or less, next to a full yard debris cart for an additional fee

Customers who do not have yard debris or organics service can put cut trees next to their garbage containers and pay for an extra 32-gallon collection. Trees collected with garbage will be sent to the landfill and won’t be recycled.

“Save Christmas trees from the landfill and recycle them to be chipped into mulch,” said Tina Kendall, environmental outreach specialist. “This gives trees a second life in gardens and returns nutrients back into the soil.”

Residents can also recycle Christmas trees of any size for a small fee (typically $5 or less) at the following locations:

  • Central Transfer and Recycling, 11034 NE 117th Ave., 360.256.8482
  • City Bark, 2419 NE Andresen Road, 360.253.8461
  • H&H Wood Recyclers, 8401 NE 117th Ave., 360.892.2805
  • McFarlane's Bark, 8806 NE 117th Ave., 360.892.6125
  • Triangle Resources, 612 SE Union St., Camas, 360.834.7253
  • West Van Materials Center, 6601 NW Old Lower River Road, 360.737.1727

Scouts BSA will collect trees for recycling in many areas of Clark County on Saturday, Jan. 8. The service is free, but donations will be accepted. Scout units may distribute door hangers with pick-up instructions and contact information in their designated areas.

For more information on holiday recycling, visit the Clark County Green Neighbors website.