Your Christmas tree was the centerpiece of merry and bright in your home this holiday season. It sparkled joy day and night until the big day came. Even though the season has come and gone we’re still in the spirit of giving and gratitude when it comes to cleaning up after Christmas! This year we’re taking the famous Marie Kondo’s approach to getting rid of our trees by first thanking it for the joy it brought us and the role it has played in our family’s memories and secondly properly recycling it. Curious about Christmas tree recycling in Portland. Read on for the four easiest ways to repurpose and recycle your tree and for our pro-tips on Christmas tree recycling locally!

photo: giveawayboy via CC Source

Christmas Tree Recycling in Portland

If you are interested in recycling your Christmas Tree, the following are four ways to get the job done.

  1. Recycle it at home with your curbside or yard debris collection service. 
  2. Recycle it through a nonprofit.
  3. Take it to a recycling center.
  4. Repurpose it in your own backyard.

Curbside or Yard Debris Christmas Tree Collection Service

One of the easiest options for Christmas tree recycling is your area’s waste collection team on regular pick-up day. Where you live depends on how to prep, where you can put it and what they’ll take. Generally trees that are cut up and fit completely inside the curbside compost roll cart are good to go. Whole trees can be placed next to the composting cart, however there may be a charge. If a tree is over 6 feet, it must be cut in half. For details, call your local solid waste and recycling office, call Metro at 503.234.3000. Flocked trees are not accepted for recycling curbside.

Pro Tip: Make sure to not overfill or stuff down the tree material.

photo: seaturtle via CC Source

Boy and Girl Scouts

For a small donation, Boy Scout Troop 150 (and others in your area!) will collect Christmas trees and wreaths for recycling. Register your address, number of trees, and make donation at the link bellow. You’ll be doing something good for the planet and helping these scouts earn badges throughout the year.

Hours: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sat., Jan. 2, Sat. Jan. 9, Sat. Jan. 16
Cost: donation based make your donation here
Online: troop150.org/tree-recycling-program

Pro Tip: Prep your tree for recycling by stripping it of all ornaments and lights. Most trees are turned into wood chips, and these items may damage the chipping machine. If you have a flocked or artificially-colored tree, check our listings below, as not all recyclers accept these.

photo: Any Lane via pexels

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Youth Group

It’s 2021 and time to say goodbye to last year’s greenery! The weekend after New Year’s, head to St. Andrew’s in the Southwest. For a small donation, this Christmas tree drop-off site accepts green trees, flocked trees, and even wreaths, all benefiting the youth group.

Hours: January 2-3 and January 9-10, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $5-$10 suggested donation for green trees, more for flocked trees; donation requested for wreath recycling
3228 SW Sunset Blvd.
Portland, OR
Online: oregonmetro.gov

Environmentally Conscious Christmas Tree Recycling

This easy-to-use Christmas Tree drop-off site in NE Portland takes both flocked and green Christmas trees. For over 30 years, they’ve been working to reduce recycling costs and protect the environment, and this year you can join them by bringing in your tree for recycling.

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.-5 p.m. (winter)
Cost: $2/green; $25/flocked
12409 NE San Rafael
Portland, OR
503-253-0867
ecr@ecrrecycling.com
Online: ecrrecycling.com
Sunnyside Environmental School

This K-8 public school has an environmental focus, so it makes sense that they hold an annual Christmas tree recycling fundraiser. With a small fee for both drop-off and pickup services on the Eastside, it’s easy to benefit the school’s field trip fund. Trees are chipped and used as mulch in the school’s garden. Pickup is by reservation via website or email, by Jan. 2.

Hours: Jan. 4-5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $5/tree drop off; $10/tree pickup
3421 SE Salmon St.
Portland, OR
sunnysidetreerecycling@gmail.com
Online: sesptsa.org

photo: Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

Take It to a Recycling Center

Requirements may vary and fees may apply, and we found just the resources to help. Have questions about these options? Reach out to Portland Metro 503.234.3000 or search for recycling centers online. This site offers recycler / recycle center name, distance from your entered location and if they pick-up and or drop-off.

In your own backyard

If you’re not up for curbside or drop-off options, consider these intentional backyard alternatives. The American Forest Society has some great ideas for putting your tree to good use in your own yard, from a bird feeder to coasters.

Recycle your lights!

Have a few strands of holiday lights that aren’t working or did you consolidate your working lights this year? There are different ways to get them off your hands in a environmentally friendly way!

Make someone else’s Christmas bright next year by donating your lights to Goodwill or other donation centers.

String lights can be recycled for the copper inside them at your local recycling center (just make sure you don’t put them in your home bin). Many centers, like Metro’s, will take them free of charge.

Hardware and home-improvement stores generally accept Christmas lights for recycling and even for coupons or other incentives. Bigger stores encourage donors to opt for  LEDs by offering to take incandescents. Just swing by the customer service counter.

Pro tip:

When going to a recycling center remove large bulbs. Small ones can stay on.

—Kris Wilhelmy

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