Is there a place to recycle artificial Christmas trees? Denverite readers want to know!

“I’d like to upgrade mine next year and world rather not add to a landfill.”
2 min. read
Each of Matthias Maynard’s many christmas trees are intricately decorated. Dec. 9, 2023.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

"Is there a place to recycle Christmas trees?" Denverite reader Amber F. asked. "I'd like to upgrade mine next year and would rather not add to a landfill."

Denver's Treecycle program helps keep dried-out Christmas trees from the dump. But what about the plastic ones?

We asked the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure if there were places to recycle a plastic tree, and the short answer is no, not really.

"The team says we're not aware of an especially good option here in the area to tell your readers about," explained Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for the department.

After all, artificial trees are often made out of tough-to-recycle materials -- various types of plastic and metal all mixed together.

But there's a little hope.

"If there's metal on the tree, it could possibly go to a scrap metal recycler," she said, pointing readers to CHaRM in Boulder as one option.

Another possibility is taking the old tree to a thrift store, selling it on Craigslist or offering it to neighbors on social media.

The Christmas Tree Project, in Colorado Springs, accepts used Christmas trees that are in good shape to send to families in need nationwide, though there are some guidelines. Trees have to be less than nine feet tall, come with all parts plus the stand, be packaged in the original box or a quality storage container, and the branches can't be individually attached, according to the website.

Finally,  artificial Christmas Trees can also be turned into other decorations; for the crafty, it's possible to create wreaths, garlands and more with the old ones.

"Otherwise, it's unfortunately the landfill," Kuhn said.

In that case, the tree just needs to be taken to the curb on large-item pickup day.

Yet Kuhn doesn't want people to feel too bad if they have to do that.

"Given that people often use these trees for years, that's a lot of reuse that we appreciate and applaud," she said.

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