How to recycle your Christmas tree

When you get rid of your Christmas tree, remove all of those decorations. (Thinkstock)
WASHINGTON — With Christmas come and gone, it’s time to say goodbye to your lovely tree — unless of course you have a live tree and are utilizing Garden Plot’s Mike McGrath’s advice to keep that evergreen going all year round.

Municipal departments and communities throughout the region are ready to help you recycle that pine.

Some will pick it up from your curb. Others require homeowners to drop off old trees.

Check below for details.


In the District, holiday trees and greenery will be collected between Jan. 13 and Feb. 2. Residents can put their trees where trash and recycling are normally placed along the curb, and the trees will be collected when trash and recycling are picked up by the Department of Public Works.


Montgomery County

Trees are collected from residents’ homes throughout the year. To ensure pickup, set your cut tree at your curb by 7 a.m. on recycling day. Make sure the tree is stripped of all decorations, including that pesky tinsel.

For those in apartments, check with your property manager or landlord.

“Live” Christmas trees with root balls and artificial trees cannot be collected as yard trim.

For homeowners with Montgomery County-provided trash service, artificial Christmas trees can be disposed of by requesting bulk trash pickup.

Prince George’s County

Yard trim and Christmas tree collection in Prince George’s County starts Jan. 8, 2018.

Residents with yard waste collection can set their trees, including live ones, at the curb by 6 a.m. on their regularly scheduled yard waste collection day. Trees must be stripped of all decorations and bags.

People also can bring their undecorated, unbagged trees to the following locations for recycling:

Brown Station Rd. Public Container Pad and Recycling Center
3501 Brown Station Road
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772


Missouri Ave. Solid Waste Acceptance and Recycling Center
12701 Missouri Ave.
Brandywine, Maryland 20613

Frederick County

Frederick County does not provide curbside collection of Christmas trees. It does, however, have several drop-off sites for recycling open until Jan 28. Check Frederick County’s website for details.

Howard County

Tree recycling in Howard County lasts until Jan. 20. For residents with yard trim collection, set your undecorated, unbagged tree out the night before normal recycling pickup.

Trees must be cut into less than 4-foot lengths and tied. Bundles must weigh less than 40 pounds.

Howard County also has a series of tree drop-off sites.


Fairfax County

In Fairfax County, Christmas trees will be collected from Jan. 1 to Jan. 12. As usual, trees must be stripped of all decorations and stands need to be removed. After Jan. 12, residents will need to schedule their pickup. Check the Fairfax County website for more details.


Alexandria residents can set their Christmas trees at the curb on their trash collection days by 6 a.m. The city says trees collected during this time will be ground into mulch and available to residents in the spring.

Arlington County

In Arlington County, Christmas trees will be picked up from residents’ curbs from Jan. 2 to Jan. 12 on their regular trash collection days. Undecorated trees should be placed outside no later than 6 a.m. After they’re collected, they’ll be ground into mulch.

Residents without curbside recycling can bring their trees to the Solid Waste Bureau. Call 703-228-6570 Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Residents will need to show proof of residence in Arlington.

Loudoun County

For those in Loudoun County, there are several locations where Christmas trees will be collected before being turned into mulch that will be made free to 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, residents can drop off their cut trees at several locations: the Prince William County Landfill; the Balls Ford Road Compost Facility; Leesylvania State Park; or Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative in Gainesville.

Elsewhere in Virginia

Check the Northern Virginia Regional Commission website for more information.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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