Branch with cone of Siberian stone pine, Pinus sibirica.

How to dispose of your Christmas tree

Once the tinsel’s off and the decorations are packed away for another 12 months, it’s time to dispose of your Christmas tree.

You can get rid of a real Christmas tree in many ways. When the smell of fresh pine has worn off, and the festive magic is no more, follow our guide for the best way to dispose of your Christmas tree locally.

When to get rid of a Christmas tree

When to take down a Christmas tree varies between families and cultures.

Some people pack away their trees on Boxing Day, while others choose to see in the New Year with festive decorations.

According to the Christian tradition, trees and decorations should be taken down on the Twelfth Night, 12 days after Christmas on January 5th.

Good quality, real Christmas trees stay fresh for up to five weeks, so you can take advantage of the smell of pine and keep yours up for even longer.

However, once your tree has started to drop its needles and lost its original magic, this is usually a sign it’s time to go.

How to get rid of a Christmas tree

Christmas tree on the garbage can after the New Year holidays Christmas tree on the garbage can after the New Year holidays

There are several Christmas tree disposal options you can choose. From hassle-free collections to replanting your tree, what you choose is entirely up to you.

Replant it

Replanting your Christmas tree is a fantastic eco-friendly option if you have a big enough garden.

Use a Christmas tree that hasn’t been inside for more than ten days for the best results. Ensure the rootball is still moist and you’ve kept the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators.

To plant your Christmas tree, dig a hole around two to three times larger than the tree’s rootball, place it in the hole, and fill it with excavated soil and water deeply. Wait until spring to fertilise the tree. You can also protect it with a screen to help aid growth.

Recycle at home

This year, the Sue Ryder charity encourages local Leeds residents to recycle their trees through their Christmas Treecycling service.

The charity is operating a local Christmas tree disposal service in return for a small donation. They will collect unwanted Christmas trees from homes and recycle them to raise money for end-of-life care and bereavement support.

From Friday 6th January to Monday 9th January, the charity will collect Christmas trees of up to 10ft in the Leeds area. Simply book your slot, and ensure all decorations and pots are removed on collection day.

You can also recycle your Christmas tree at home by making it useful for the garden and attracting local wildlife.

Tree branches can be removed, chipped, and used as mulch. Apply garden lime on the mulch to counter the acidity.

If you have a large garden pond, Christmas trees make an excellent refuge, breeding and feeding area for fish when sunk into the water.

A Christmas tree in your garden could attract different species of birds, especially if you string the branches with fresh orange slices or popcorn. The birds can take shelter in the branches while you enjoy the music they bring.

Recycle out of home

There are no council collection options for Christmas tree disposal in Leeds. However, there are plenty of recycling centres where you can drop them off for free.

Search for your nearest out-of-home recycling point and make sure they accept real Christmas trees.

Real Christmas trees are shredded at these centres into wood chippings for use in local parks and woodland areas. Just remember to remove any tinsel, decorations, and pots or stands.

Hire a skip

If you’ve got a lot of Christmas waste to get rid of, it could be worth hiring a small skip for the festive period to make the disposal of your Christmas tree easier.

As well as unwanted decorations, packaging, and wrapping, you can also put your Christmas tree in a skip. After collection, the wood will be safely sorted and recycled at a local centre, minimising its environmental impact.