8 ways to recycle your Christmas tree

While it might be time to turn off the fairy lights and de-bauble your Christmas tree, this task doesn’t have to be as sad as it sounds.

Willow Swim little girl standing next to Chritmas tree

Instead of simply throwing your tree in the bin after the festive season, why not try one of the DIY projects from this list of the best ways to recycle a real Christmas tree? There are some great ideas here that are perfect for getting little ones involved with.

1. Recycle the tree with your council

If you do want to just dispose of your Christmas tree thoughtfully, then hop online and check what services your local council offer. Usually trees can either be dropped off, cut up and put in your garden waste bin or you can book a collection. Many councils use Christmas trees to create mulch for parks and green areas.

2. Make coasters

If you want to flex a little DIY muscle and take on a project for the holidays, why not consider removing the branches and cutting your Christmas tree trunk into coasters. Just be sure to sand down the surfaces, stain and seal before using them.

3. Use branches in the compost

The best base you can use for a new compost pile is a layer of thin branches (evergreen branches included) because they allow a little airflow at the base of your compost. Simply trim branches off your Christmas tree and stack them into a pile about 15cm high.

4. Make garden labels

If you like to label your garden, then you can use cuts from your Christmas tree to make plant markers. Select branches that are about 1.5 to 2cm thick and strip off the needles and smaller branches. Using a knife (or vegetable peeler), carefully strip off some of the bark at the top of the branch until the light-coloured wood is revealed – this is where you’ll write. All that’s left to do is grab your favourite permanent marker (Sharpie pens are great) and start labelling.

5. Make mulch

If you have a shredder or chipper, you already know what to do. If you don’t, however, it doesn’t mean you can’t mulch your Christmas tree. Simply cut the thinner branches from the tree and then cut those into little pieces (around 4cm). These cuts are great for adding mulch to garden beds or creating mulch pathways.

6. A haven for wildlife

When placed in your backyard, a Christmas tree can provide food and shelter for wildlife, especially birds. Better still, you could hang a bird feeder or bird treats from the tree to attract birds. You can either transfer your tree into a pot or simply use your tree stand in the garden.

7. Create decorations

You can create a unique decoration for next Christmas by collecting varying lengths of branches from your tree before recycling it. With your branches, you can make a “tree” in a vase for next year. Just add decorations and it can adorn a side table or be the dining table centre piece on December 25. 

8. Make a festive potpourri

If you love the sweet smell of Christmas trees, making your very own festive potpourri is a great way to bring the scent into your bathroom – or other areas around the home – next Christmas. You just need to collect a small bowl of pine needles or fill a few sachets. If you want to take your potpourri to the next level, you might even consider adding in a cinnamon stick, orange rind and cloves.