Recycling Christmas Tree and other Holiday Items

Every year, about 33 million live Christmas tree are sold in North America, with an estimated 15 million ending up in landfills according to the US EPA.

Christmas tree can be recycled through curbside pickups or free drop-off events. These trees will be sent to local green waste processors and ground into compost and mulch products. To prepare Christmas trees for recycling, make sure to remove the trees from stands or plastics bags. Trees must be cleaned of all decorations, garland and tinsel.

What about electronic waste? Many states have already banned the disposal of E-waste, including California. Electronics can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other potentially harmful chemicals. In 2010, Americans threw 1.8 million tons of e-waste into the landfill, according to the US EPA. Find out where to recycle your electronics here.


Curbside recycling programs accept flattened corrugated cardboard - just be sure to break down cardboard boxes.

Packing materials:
Many shipping stores accept packing peanuts, rigid foam packing, bubble wrap and other packing materials for reuse. Call your local store to ask whether it takes the materials. Also, effective Jan 1st, distributors will no longer be able to use those obnoxious polystyrene packaging 'peanuts', thanks to state law sponsored by CAW.

Christmas Lights:
If your old holiday lights no longer work, recycle them. If your community doesn't have a seasonal recycling program, you can always mail them in with no recycling fee.

Ornaments and decorations:
Holiday decorations can be reused for years. However, if you grow tired of the decorations, donate them to thrift stores or post them for free on Freecycle, an online trading community. Make sure the decorations are in decent condition.