How To: Recycle Your Christmas Tree

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of your Christmas tree this year, then we have a few suggestions that will help you. In this article, we will cover potted trees with roots intact, sawn trees, as well as artificial trees. Around 6-8 million “real” trees are sold each year in the UK – which is a lot of waste!

How To: Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Potted Christmas Trees

If you purchased a tree in a pot with the roots still attached it is a good idea to replant it either in a larger pot or into the ground. This will give it time to recoup and grow in time for the holiday season next year. Putting it in a larger pot with some fresh compost is probably the easiest solution as you can simply bring it indoors when you are ready to decorate it again.

We recommend acclimatising your tree back to outdoor temperatures for 1-2 weeks. This includes taking the tree outside during the day and bringing it indoors during the night to avoid frost or snow. Trees can get a shock going from the warmth of indoors to the cold temperatures outside. This process is called hardening off.

Cut Christmas Trees

If you went out and picked your own Christmas tree this year that was chopped down, you are best off taking it to your local council’s Christmas tree recycling scheme. You can also check the “Recycle Now” website for more recycling options.

If you’re savvy, you can recycle your tree at home! If you have a wood shredder you can turn the woody parts of the tree into woodchip mulch; once it’s rotted down a little you can use it to protect trees and shrubs. Similarly, once the needles have fallen off the tree you can collect them up and use them as mulch for acidic-loving plants. 

Local zoos and animal parks will also gladly take cut Christmas trees as they can be used in animal enclosures.

Lastly, you could donate your tree to a local coastal reserve where it can be used to stabilise sand dunes and help prevent flooding.

How To: Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Artificial Christmas Trees

A real tree is often the greenest option, as according to Recycle Now, fake trees are made from a combination of materials and so can’t be recycled. If you have opted for an artificial tree either purchase second-hand where possible or make sure a new one can be reused for years to come. If you are disposing of your artificial tree consider reselling it, giving it to a friend or donating it to a charity shop.

For future Christmases, the Royal Horticultural Society has encouraged buyers to ask their supplier where the trees come from and to choose a locally sourced and grown tree, or one that has at least been grown in the UK rather than abroad. If you are looking for more tips and tricks to have a “Green Christmas” this year, speak to one of the team at Holt Garden Centre who are on hand to help.

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