Whew — the holidays are over! Pretty soon it’ll be time to pack up the decorations and get ready to ring in a fresh new year. But first, how do you dispose of old Christmas trees in Gwinnett County?
Can Fake Christmas Trees Be Recycled?
If you have an artificial tree that’s nearing the end of its life, bad news. It’s made of PVC, which is a very hard to recycle plastic, and it’s not recyclable or biodegradable. Once it reaches a landfill, an artificial tree will last there for hundreds of years.
The good news here is that while they can’t be recycled, faux Christmas trees can usually be reused. Many people will gladly take an artificial tree off your hands to use in their home. Consider listing your old tree for free in a secondhand marketplace, like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or one of Gwinnett’s Freecycle or Buy Nothing Facebook groups. For someone out there, the tree you’re done using will be much better than no tree at all.
Are Real or Fake Christmas Trees Better for the Environment?
Real Christmas trees are better for the environment throughout their lifecycle. Real trees support healthy forests and don’t require the intensive carbon emissions that it takes to produce and ship artificial trees overseas from China. Buying sustainable forest products like real Christmas trees supports local communities and gives landowners the profits they need to keep their land forested. And when your real tree has finished serving its purposes for Christmas festivities, it can easily be tree-cycled.
How to Recycle Real Christmas Trees in Gwinnett
With the Bring One for the Chipper program, Keep Georgia Beautiful and Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful make it easy to recycle your real Christmas tree. Drop off your Christmas tree at a conveniently located site near your home between the day after Christmas and late January, and it will be chipped into beautiful, rich mulch. The mulch will be used right here in our community to line pathways in parks or help enhance the flowerbeds around our schools and public buildings. That saves the county (and by extension, us taxpayers!) money and effectively composts our Christmas trees, extending their life instead of ending it in a landfill.
See the list of drop-off locations, which include most fire stations throughout Gwinnett County, here. Remember, Christmas trees must be stripped of all ornaments, frosting, garlands, etc. No one wants microplastic in our mulch!
Other Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree
If you aren’t able to bring your Christmas tree to one of Gwinnett’s drop-off locations before the January deadline, there are still lots of options for it that are better than the landfill. Use the greenery for winter wreaths, cut up the trunk for craft projects, provide food and shelter to birds in your backyard, or create the ultimate raised garden bed. Or throw the tree on your compost pile. Anything’s better than putting it in your trash, where it will be packed so tightly with other trash as to be mummified, never going back to the earth. That goes for yard waste disposal too, which usually goes to landfills in metro Atlanta.
Hopefully you’ve been taking advantage of our tips to reduce waste all holiday season long. Recycling your Christmas tree is just one last thing to do to take care of the planet that gives us the gift of life. There are many ways to put an old tree to good use. Cheers to ending the year on a green note!
About Gwinnett Recycles: Gwinnett Recycles is focused on helping Gwinnett County, the second-largest county in the state of Georgia, reduce, reuse, compost, and recycle more material. Gwinnett Recycles is run and funded 100% independently by citizen volunteers and is not affiliated with any government, organization, or sponsor. To connect with us and support our efforts, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, subscribe to our newsletter, and consider volunteering.