Much like you, we at the Alabama Environmental Council feel that the beloved Christmas tree deserves a little more respect than ending up on the curb with the trash. Below is a list of Christmas tree recycling options across the state. If you do not find a recycling option that is convenient to you, please look over the innovative ways that you could incorporate your old Christmas tree into your own landscaping.
Auburn/Opelika - On Saturday, December 29 Keep Opelika Beautiful and Opelika Tree Commission will host a Christmas tree Recycling Event. The event will take place at the Opelika Chamber of Commerce parking lot from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Volunteers will be on hand to assist in removing the trees from residents vehicles. In exchange for trees, The Opelika Tree Commission will be giving away dogwood tree seedlings. Christmas trees collected will be ground and the mulch will be used throughout the City of Opelika. For more information call Keep Opelika Beautiful at (334) 749-4970 or email at: email@example.com
Birmingham - Old Christmas trees are picked up curbside and are chipped by the city as part of their normal landscaping and yard debris removal service on regularly scheduled pickup days.
Cullman- Trees can be dropped off this week in front of the Aquaculture Center of Gadsden State Community College. The tree branches will be dropped into the school's ponds to encourage the spawning of yellow perch. The college is located on Wallace Drive in Gadsden.
Enterprise - Christmas trees should be brought to the City’s shop on Lester Drive, entering the gate closest to Harrand Creek, between 7AM and 4:30PM. Some trees will be ground for mulch while others will be deposited in local ponds to create fish habitat.
Gardendale - Old Christmas trees are picked up curbside and are chipped by the city as part of their normal landscaping and yard debris removal service. Mulch generated goes to Gardendale city landscaping.
Homewood - From 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. on December 26 through January 9 natural, decoration free Christmas trees can be brought to the corner parking lot at Dale and Grace St. The trees will be recycled and the mulch will be used for paths at the Homewood City School’s Community Garden.
Decoration-free, natural trees can also be dropped off in the designated areas in the back rear parking lot of the Homewood Public Library.
Huntsville - Natural Christmas trees can be dropped off at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens mulch pile (East of the main entrance) beginning December 26 through January 17. The trees will be recycled and the mulch will added to the cities mulch pile. Mulch is free for citizens of Huntsville to use in their own landscaping. For questions or concerns please contact the Huntsville Botanical Gardens at 256-830-4447.
Mobile - Keep Mobile Beautiful will be collecting decoration-free, natural Christmas trees beginning December 26 and running through January 9. Trees may be delivered anytime to the locations listed below. These locations will be staffed to help unload trees from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on December 29, 30 and January 5 and 6. Trees are chipped and the mulch generated is available for public use beginning in January. Flocked trees will not be accepted. For questions, please contact Keep Mobile Beautiful at 251-208-6029.
Old Christmas trees may be delivered to any of the following locations:
Parkway Plaza -- 2655 Dauphin Island Parkway
2501 Government Boulevard -- in front of Food World
Wildwood Shopping Center -- 4055 Cottage Hill west of Azalea
Airport at University -- behind the BP Station
Westwood Plaza -- Airport at Schillinger
- Park Forest Center -- Moffet at Forest Hill Drive
Montgomery - On Saturdays, December 29 and January 5 from 9 am - 3 pm natural Christmas trees free of ornaments and decorations can be brought to any Saturday Trash Collection Point. Trees will be recycled as mulch or used for fish hatcheries in local lakes. For questions please contact the City of Montgomery at 334-241-2925.
Tuscaloosa - From December 25 through January 13 natural Christmas trees, natural garland, and wreaths free of decorations and ornaments can be dropped off in the marked, designated areas at the Belle Food's (formerly Bruno's) parking lot just off McFarland Boulevard. The Environmental Service Department will take the trees, garland, and wreaths to Farley's Forest Products where they will be processed into mulc. For questions, please contact the Environmental Services Dept. at 205-248-4900.
Shelby County-County citizens can drop off their trees for recycling on December 26 through January 4 at the following locations:
- Pelham City Park (off US 31 in Pelham)
- Ray Building (off Alabama 70 in Columbiana)
- Chelsea City Hall
- Heardmont Park on U.S. 119
- Propst Alabaster LLC (formerly Colonial Properties Alabaster, at the end of the AmStar Theater parking lot)
All drop areas are located in parking lots and designated with orange traffic cones and signs.
Vestavia - Decoration free, natural Christmas trees can be dropped off at Scout Square (The Christmas Tree Lot) right off of Highway 31 in Vestavia. Donated trees are used as fish habitats in the lakes on the properties of Alabama Power.
Reusing Your Old Christmas Tree at Home:
- The most obvious form of recycling your old Christmas tree is to chip it up into mulch to used in your landscaping. Chippers can be rented from most hardware stores, but they do require special skills and often liability insurance to operate. Please do not consider this option if you have no or limited prior experience operating a wood chipper.
- Retired Christmas trees make great bird habitats in back yards. Secure the trunk of the tree about one foot down into the soil or use a tree stand and decorate the tree with bird seed, nuts, and old fruit. During the rest of the winter your retire Christmas tree will become a songbird’s paradise.
- Old wreaths also make a excellent bird house. Just hang your retired wreaths on trees and you’ll soon see that nesting birds have made them their new homes.
- If you happen to have a lake on your property or you have friends or family that do, old Christmas trees make excellent fish spawning habitats. Simply using a natural string or cord (Something like hemp cord works great!) tie your Christmas tree to a large rock or brick and dump it into the lake deep enough so that they entire tree is submerged.
- Christmas tree branches and old wreaths make the perfect seasonal accent to floral arrangements, flower pots, and winter landscaping.
- Consider using needles for pine-scented potpourri.
- Christmas tree branches can also be used to control soil erosion and provide ground cover on eroding surfaces.
- Retired Christmas trees can always be cut into firewood. Let the wood cure and dry for one year, so next Christmas you can heat your home with this years Christmas tree. When drying the wood make sure that the wood is elevated and not touching the ground to prevent rot.
We at the Alabama Environmental Council hope these recycling options help you be a little merrier and greener this holiday season! Let recycling your Christmas tree become a holiday tradition! For any question or comments please feel free to call our recycling hotline at 205-252-7581 or email us at Recycling@aeconline.org.
To find out where other materials can be recycled, visit the drop-off recycling search engine at www.RecycleAL.com.
Have a Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays & Happy Recycling!
- AEC Staff