How to recycle a Christmas tree - Five genius ways to use your tree post-December

Make sure you dispose of your Christmas tree responsibly

As the time comes to wrap up the fairy lights and finish of the last chocolate in the Quality Street tin, your thoughts might have turned to taking the tree down. Artificial trees can be wrapped up for next year, but a real version needs to be recycled carefully.

Related: Christmas tree light hacks – avoid the dreaded tangle when taking the lights down!

When it comes to how to recycle a Christmas tree, if you don't have a garden waste bin you will need to put in a call to thecouncil (opens in new tab) to take it away. However, before you call the council, there are a whole host of ways to get a few extra uses of your Christmas tree before it goes in a shredder. 

white living room with fire place and christmas tree

(Image credit: Future PLC/Clare Richardson)

Real Christmas trees aren’t cheap. Many trees over 5ft can cost upwards of £40. So it is important to get as much as possible out of your purchase. 

From creating a drinks coasters to scenting your home, Squire’s Garden Centres (opens in new tab) have shared five creative uses for your Christmas tree post-December.

How to recycle your Christmas tree

1. Turn it into a natural air freshener

potted pine plant

(Image credit: Squire's Garden Centres)

Make the most of that gorgeous pine scent by plucking out the pine needles and adding them to a bowl of potpourri. 

2. Transform the trunk into a home accessory

If you're handy with a saw and sander, a Christmas tree trunk is the perfect raw material to transform into drinks coasters, tealight holders, coat wrack or even a bannister. Before committing to this project make sure you have space to dry the wood before using it. A garage or garden shed will do the trick.

3. Use the branches to protect your garden

christmas tree

(Image credit: Squire's Garden Centres)

The Christmas tree branches are the perfect way to protect your flowerbeds and vegetable patch from frost during the winter. But the branches off and layer over the top to make sure your garden survive the snow and frost and is flourishing come spring.

4. Cut up as wood for an outdoor firepit

garden area with chair and fire wood

(Image credit: Alasdair McIntosh)

Current circumstances have catapulted outdoor firepits from a Love Island luxury to a household essential. This type of wood is perfect for fueling an outdoor fire to keep warm during socially distanced meet-ups. However, don't be tempted to burn the wood inside as it burns incredibly hot and can be dangerous.

5. Turn your Christmas tree into mulch

Rather than shelling out on mulch and compost to feed your garden, you can use your old Christmas tree. If you have a shredder at home, you can pass it through that. Just be sure to cut the tree into small sections first. Or take it to a recycling centre where they can shred it for you.

Related: How to make money from recycling common household items – from print cartridges to tea towels

If you have invested in a real Christmas tree, don't just leave it on the side of the road for someone else to deal with. Make sure you recycle it responsibly.

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.