Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Recycling

Though I am still off for another day winding down my holiday weekend, I thought it important to get out some great information provided by the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS), in the Department of Environmental Protection. Below, please find some great information as it relates to Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Recycling.

Hope everyone has had a December full of health and happiness that continues into the New Year!


Christmas Tree Recycling Schedule and Tips

Montgomery County residents may recycle their Christmas trees from Monday, December 27, 2010 through Friday, February 4, 2011 by placing the entire tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on their regular recycling collection day.

After February 4, Christmas trees may be recycled through the County’s curbside yard trim recycling collection program. Because the trees will be chipped for mulch, they must first be cut into smaller pieces.

The Division of Solid Waste Services reminds residents to keep trees in their natural state and to remove the stand and all decorations, including lights, ornaments, tinsel and garland. There should be nothing attached to the tree.

Residents are also reminded not to place trees in plastics bags. Trees with root balls are considered

“live” and therefore cannot be collected as part of this recycling program. In addition, artificial trees cannot be collected as part of the recycling program. Residents might consider donating artificial trees to charitable organizations or offering them for reuse through online reuse networks such as the Freecycle Network at

Tree branches and needles may be recycled at home by placing them under outdoor trees and shrubs as temporary winter mulch, or they may be chopped up and added to a backyard compost bin.

Wreaths and roping that are typically bound together with wire cannot be recycled unless the wire is removed from the greens. If there is no wiring attached, the greens may be placed directly into paper lawn bags or in reusable containers or bundled as yard trim and placed at the curb for recycling collection on recycling day.

Residents of apartments and condominiums, as well as businesses, should check with their property or business manager for specific Christmas tree recycling instructions.

After Christmas trees are collected for recycling, they are shredded into mulch that will be available in February and March at County-operated Neighborhood Mulch Preserves. The preserves are located at: Montgomery County Recycling Center, 16105 Frederick Rd. in the Derwood/Rockville/Gaithersburg area; and at E.E. Halmos Park (use the Bodmer Ave. entrance) in Poolesville. The mulch is free but must be loaded and transported by the user.

This mulch is good to use on woody plants, such as bushes, shrubs and trees; as a cover material on walkways or other areas where vegetation needs to be controlled; and as a carbon-rich addition to home compost bins. Because the mulch is “green,” it must be aged for at least six to eight months before it can be used on flowers, vegetables or other plants with tender or shallow root systems.

For more information about Christmas tree recycling, the Neighborhood Mulch Preserves and/or using mulch, call 311; 240-777-0311 240-777-0311 from outside Montgomery County; TTY 240-777-3556; or visit

Holiday Light Recycling Opportunities

Broken, burnt out and/or unwanted holiday lights used on Christmas trees or around the house can be recycled, but not as part of the County’s curbside recycling program. Residents may take their holiday lights to a number of local retailers for recycling collection or they may send the lights directly to private recycling companies.

For an updated list of holiday light recycling options, visit and click on Recycle Your Holiday Lights.

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