Done with your Christmas tree? Here’s how to pitch it

WASHINGTON — Maybe you’ve had that Christmas tree up since early December, or you put it up on Christmas Eve. Before too long, the time will come to say goodbye to your fading evergreen.

Public works and environmental departments in communities across the region are ready to convert that tree into mulch. In some cases, they will carry out curbside collections. In other jurisdictions, it’s up to homeowners to drop off their old trees.

Montgomery County

In Montgomery County, Christmas trees are picked up for collection throughout the year. Just put the tree out for curbside collection on your regularly scheduled recycling day. Trees should be free of all decorations, including tinsel and garland, and metal or plastic bags should not be attached.

Live Christmas trees, with root ball attached, are not collected as yard trim.

Residents of apartments and condominiums should check with their property managers regarding tree collection. For homeowners with Montgomery County-provided trash service, artificial Christmas trees can be disposed of by requesting bulk trash pickup.

Prince George’s County

In Prince George’s County, the Department of the Environment offers free Christmas tree recycling with curbside collection now through Feb. 1. Just make sure that all the decorations — from lights to ornaments to tinsel — are off the tree. There are also two areas where undecorated trees can be dropped off: at the Prince George’s County Yard Waste Composting Facility in Upper Marlboro, or at the Brown Station Road Facility also in Upper Marlboro.

If you need more information on recycling in general in Prince George’s County, check out the website.

Frederick County

Frederick does not provide curbside collection of Christmas trees. It does have a number of dropoff sites.

Howard County

Howard County will have curbside recycling of Christmas trees on its normal recycling days through Jan. 13. Put your tree out by 6 a.m. After Jan. 13, you can recycle your tree at the Alpha Ridge Wood Waste Area. You also can drop off your tree at a number of sites through Jan. 21.


In the District, trees will be collected from in front of residences through January 2017. D.C.’s Department of Public Works says you shouldn’t put your tree in plastic or cloth bags. DPW says the trees will be chipped and composted.

Fairfax County 

The Fairfax County website explains that Christmas trees less than 8 feet tall can be left out for curbside collection. The site advises calling your collector for handling trees over 8 feet tall. Trees can also be dropped off at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex.


Alexandria will pick up Christmas trees on Saturday, Jan. 10 and Saturday, Jan. 17. Trees need to be at the curb by 7 a.m. The city will not have any additional pickups. Trees left out on the curb after Jan. 17 will be picked up on regular trash days. Trees will be recycled into mulch.

Arlington County

In Arlington, homeowners who have curbside collection are instructed to put their trees out no later than 6 a.m. on the regular trash collection day. Curbside collection will start Jan. 2 through Jan. 13. Homeowner who want to drop their tree off at the Solid Waste Bureau will need to make an appointment and be prepared to show an ID that proves Arlington County residency.

Loudoun County

In Loudoun County, there are several collection points where trees will be picked up for processing into mulch that will be offered for free to Loudoun County residents. If you live in an HOA or an incorporated town, check to see how and when curbside collection will be done.

Prince William County

In Prince William County, you can drop off your tree at the Prince William County Landfill, the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility and at Leesylvania State Park.

Other Virginia localities

Check for other areas in Northern Virginia.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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