Skip to main content

Don't be a Grinch: Here's how to recycle your Christmas tree

Tips on what to do with your Christmas tree.

Wondering what you can do to avoid that sad looking Christmas tree in your garbage can?

Around 34 million trees are sold during the Christmas season, and 93 percent of them end up being recycled, according to Minnesota Grown. Here's how to get rid of your tree:

Most trash haulers will pick up your Christmas tree and get rid of it for you if you place it next to your trash can on garbage day – but they often won't pick it up if it's after the first or second week of January, so be sure to check with them, according to the City of Plymouth's website.

If your garbage company doesn't accept trees – or you miss the deadline – there are other options, like bringing your tree to a drop-off site where your tree is recycled or composted.

In Hennepin County, a Christmas tree is considered yard waste, so you can't just place it in the trash can. Here's a list of yard waste drop-off sites you can bring your tree to, just make sure to check the hours of the specific drop-off site and see what fees might be applicable.

It's free to drop-off yard waste in Ramsey County, but you will need a photo ID. A list of those places can be found here.

Duluth has a yearly program for "treecycling" that starts Monday – it's free and the locations are open 24 hours a day, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

If you live in Rochester, you can drop off your tree at the Clinton River Watershed Council from Dec. 31 to Jan. 15, the Rochester Patch reports. While in St. Cloud, there are two Mondays designated for tree pick-ups – on Jan. 2 and Jan. 9. You can read the details here.

One way to personally recycle your tree (and make birds and squirrels really happy) is by putting it in your backyard and hanging fruit, seed cakes, or pinecones smeared with peanut butter on the branches, according to Minneapolis officials. They also suggest using it as winter mulch, by pruning and placing the main branch over your perennials.

Burning the tree is not a viable option, as it can cause chimney fires or a build-up of this stuff called creosote (what's left over after you burn a bunch of wood), according to the Star Tribune.

Recycle Minnesota has a list of what you can do with other holiday items, including wrapping paper, ribbon, holiday lights, and more.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.


State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.


Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 2.23.15 PM

Walz sends MN first responders to help with hurricane recovery in Florida

Eight members of the Minnesota All Hazards Incident Management Team will travel to Florida.


This MN nonprofit will recycle your old and broken holiday lights

Recycle your lights and help provide jobs for people with disabilities.

How to recycle that phone you don't need anymore (plus your other old electronics)

Here's how to get rid of old electronics without feeling bad about creating more e-waste.

This is how not to leave your Boundary Waters campsite

Don't disrespect nature – leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.

What's open and closed on Thanksgiving

A guide to what's open and what's closed on Thanksgiving

Live in Minneapolis and want a cheap tree? Here's your chance

There will be some 15 tree varieties available, including large species, flowering trees and several kinds of fruit trees.

Live in Minneapolis and want a cheap tree? Here's your chance

There will be some 15 tree varieties available, including large species, flowering trees and several kinds of fruit trees.

Here's how that MN couple did on ABC's The Great Christmas Light Fight

Trent and Ryan Kasper-Cook had more than 17,000 lights on their house.