Christmas trees are just marvellous to look at – whether you’ve got a sparkly, lit-up artificial tree or have decorated a live one with tinsel, baubles and other trinkets.
How to recycle your Christmas tree in 2022
Don’t let your tree end up in a landfill (Picture: Getty)


Alas, Christmas trees can’t stay up all year round, or else they wouldn’t have that special, festive effect in December.

Traditionally, the tree comes down on January 5, aka Twelfth Night, along with any other Christmas decorations.

But once it’s down, where should your Christmas tree go? Can it be recycled, and where?

Here’s what you need to know.

Can you recycle your Christmas tree?

It depends on what type of Christmas tree you have, says RecycleNow.

Can real Christmas trees go in the recycling?

If you’ve got a living or ‘real’ Christmas tree, it can be recycled into wood chippings.

However, if you’ve got an artificial or ‘fake’ Christmas tree, you can’t really recycle it – as they’re usually made of a combination of materials, which isn’t recyclable.

But artificial trees are reusable, and if you reuse it enough, it’s actually better for the environment than using a freshly-chopped living tree every year, according to The Carbon Trust.

It states: ‘An artificial tree used over multiple years (7 to 20 times depending on the weight and different materials in the tree) is better for the environment than buying a new, commercially grown tree every year.’ 

Ideally, you don’t want any type of tree – living or artificial – left to decompose in a landfill.

If your Christmas tree is artificial, keep reusing it (Picture: Getty)

There, it will just unleash poisonous gases as it decomposes, which is bad for the environment.

How to recycle a Christmas tree in the UK

With a living or ‘real’ Christmas tree, you have a few options for recycling it.

The most environmentally-friendly option is to have it replanted (if the roots are still attached).

Or you can have the tree chipped. Wood chips can be used in forests and gardens, so the tree simply ends up back in nature, just with a different purpose.

If you can’t action either of those, getting the tree to your local authority is the best way to ensure it’s correctly recycled.

Recycle those trees! (Picture: Getty)

Every council has different rules and regulations when it comes to the collection and recycling of Christmas trees, and may have specific dates advertised for coming to collect them.

Find your local authority via RecycleNow and check their policy before putting the tree out.

Finally, you can burn the tree – The Carbon Trust says this doesn’t really add anything to your individual carbon footprint.

For your artificial tree, simply make sure keep using year-in, year-out to make the purchase worth it.

If you’d prefer to replace it, see if your local charity shop will take it as a donation – or if a local community centre or service could do with a free Christmas tree.



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