Tree-cycling: King County outlines how to dispose of Christmas trees

Dec 28, 2023, 7:37 PM

christmas tree...

A group of Christmas trees lie amongst rubbish and a sofa. (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

(Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

As the carol goes, “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!” That is, until the tree dries out and the needles begin to drop.

According to Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), residents can recycle their Christmas trees curbside for free until Jan. 31. By February, there will be a small fee.

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It seems obvious, but before recycling it, SPU asks for all decorations, including garland and lights, to be removed from the tree.

“You can cut it into sections, four feet or less. They should not exceed four inches in diameter,” SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register said, referring to trees taller than four feet. “Then you can put them curbside next to your cart and set them out for your next collection day.”

Register also said trees can be taken to one of SPU’s transfer stations.

“They need to be less than eight feet in length and you can drop off up to three trees at no additional charge,” Register added.

The King County “tree-cycling” web page says residents can place trees “on the curb for collection with (their) regular yard waste.” There also is a list of cities and residents can choose their area hauler for details. The page also suggests visiting your city’s website for tree-cycling events.

When it comes to holiday lights, SPU advises residents to place them in the garbage bin if they need to be disposed of. However, if the lights still work, they can just be donated.

King County has a list of locations for light donations:

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For those living in city of Tacoma or any part of Pierce County, residents can recycle holiday lights — old, new or burned-out — at the Tacoma Recycle Center, located off of Mullens Street.

“Now through Jan. 14, the Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center (3510 S. Mullen St.) will be accepting unflocked, undecorated Christmas trees at no charge,” a Tacoma City spokesperson said. “You can also bring old, burned-out holiday lights to be recycled.”

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter or email her here.

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Tree-cycling: King County outlines how to dispose of Christmas trees