8 Alternatives to Tossing Out Your Christmas Tree

Photo by maxbelchenko / Shutterstock.com

With the start of the new year comes an old problem for many people: What should you do with the Christmas tree that’s now drying out and shedding needles all over the floor?

For years, folks hauled their trees out to the trash. But in our more environmentally conscious age, many are looking for “green” alternatives to simply tossing out used evergreens.

Consider these ways to give your Christmas tree a life that extends well beyond the holiday season:

1. Recycle it

Don’t just toss your old tree into the trash. Instead, give it new life through recycling, which usually means it’s turned into mulch.

Michigan State University says Christmas trees are biodegradable, and can be reused or recycled.

Curbside recycling pickup may be an option in your area, although there are often requirements, such as for the tree size and decoration removal.

Taking your tree to a recycling center is another great option, especially if your community does not pick up trees. Check to see if your county has drop-off locations.

2. Use it for firewood

Converting a Christmas tree to firewood means the tree can continue making spirits bright long after the holiday is over.

Experts warn, however, not to burn all or part of your old tree in an indoor fireplace or wood stove. A hazardous chemical called creosote in the trees can build up and cause fires to burn extremely hot, sending off sparks that can be fire hazards.

However, it’s perfectly fine to use your tree as kindling for an outdoor fire pit. Nothing says winter quite like gathering with family and friends around a dancing fire. Just make sure the wood is dry before burning. Also, don’t forget to remove any remaining tinsel and ornaments.

3. Mulch it

Your old Christmas tree’s branches are a great source of DIY mulch for your garden. Use them for this purpose, and you’ll save yourself a trip to the store — not to mention all that cash you’d have spent buying bags of mulch.

You don’t even need fancy equipment to get the job done. Simply remove and chip the small branches with the most appropriate tool you happen to have on hand, and spread the bits throughout your yard.

As the needles fall off, they’ll help your soil retain moisture.

4. Compost it

Use your old Christmas tree to supplement your garden soil. According to home tips website The Spruce, a layer of thin branches — such as evergreens — is the best base for a new compost pile:

“This allows a bit of airflow at the bottom of the pile, and the branches will break down over time. Just trim them down so they fit in your bin, then stack them four to six inches high. After you’ve got them in, go ahead and start adding your kitchen scraps and other compostables as usual.”

5. Transform it into pathway edging

Don’t need compost? Not a problem. Instead, chop the trunk of your old tree into 2-inch discs and use them to line your flower beds and walkways. You can also use small branches as edging if you prefer.

In addition to adding visual interest to your landscaping, your yard will smell like Christmas.

6. Use it to protect your perennials

Your old Christmas tree can help save the lives of the other plants in your garden.

Simply lay the branches on the ground beneath perennial plants to help protect them from any upcoming frost. According to Fine Gardening:

“Pine boughs or branches cut from the Christmas tree … make an excellent, airy mulch for young hellebores or any fledgling evergreen perennial because they help moderate temperature changes and offer protection from the winter wind and sun.”

7. Toss it into your fish tank

Want to create a peaceful habitat for your fish? Place branches from your old Christmas tree inside their tank. According to Lifehack:

“In the wild, many branches fall into ponds and lakes, offering protection to the fish in the water. You can put the smaller branches into the tank to give your fish a place to hide and relax. Make sure the branches are fully clean before you put them in the tank.”

8. Return it to the seller

When all else fails, you may be able to return your tree to the seller. Some large tree farms will actually take the tree back after Christmas. Contact the place where you purchased your tree to inquire about pickup and drop-off options.

Do you know of other ways to re-use your Christmas tree after the holidays? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

25 Things You Should Never Buy — and What to Buy Instead
25 Things You Should Never Buy — and What to Buy Instead

If you really want to save money, become a more intentional shopper.

It’s Worth Paying Extra for These 14 Items
It’s Worth Paying Extra for These 14 Items

Here’s where to find the sweet spot at the intersection of price and quality.

10 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living
10 Places Where Social Security Offers the Best Standard of Living

These U.S. counties offer retirees a chance to stretch their benefit checks while enjoying their golden years.

7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery
7 Other Retailers With Free Prescription Delivery

Amazon’s new pharmacy is hardly the first to offer free shipping.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect
Why Your Next Stimulus Check Might Be Bigger Than You Expect

Your third coronavirus payment will be the biggest yet — and possibly even bigger than you realize.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.