While we love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree in our home, those endless piles of pine needles on the floor are enough to make us go bonkers. Before you toss your old tree and lights out on the curb, try the eco-friendly option of treecycling which turns your holiday tree into everything from garden mulch to wood chips. The best part? Recycling your tree (and lights) isn’t as difficult as you might think. Keep reading for a list of convenient options.

photo: Pixabay

Christmas Tree Recycling

Christmas Tree Curbside Residential Pickup
If you currently have curbside yard debris service from your garbage and recycling company, you can place your tree at your curb on pick-up day after following these simple steps:

1. Prep your tree by removing all decorations and adornments (ornaments, tinsel, lights, wire, nails, etc.) and returning the tree to its original state.

2. Trim your tree to six feet or shorter (branches to less than four feet) to fit into the collection trucks.

3. Bundle each section with sisal string or twine (not plastic). Flocked and plastic trees will not be accepted for curbside recycling.

Tree Recycling & Disposal Stations
At several King County Recycling and Transfer Stations, clean trees can be recycled as yard waste starting in January 2020. Trees should not exceed eight feet in length, must be free of decorations and must be separated from garbage and recyclables. Trunks should not exceed four inches in diameter. To see which King County facilities will accept holiday trees as yard waste and their hours of operation, click here. Psst! At all other King County facilities, trees will be accepted as garbage at the garbage fee which ranges from $1 to $5 per tree.

Boy Scout Troop 600 Christmas Tree Recycling Drive & Fundraiser
If you live in West Bellevue (west of I-405, north of I-90 & south of SR-520) or in the surrounding neighborhoods of Beaux Arts, Medina, Clyde Hill or Hunts or Yarrow Points, mark your calendars for the annual Boy Scout Troop 600 Christmas Tree Recycling Drive and Fundraiser. Now in its 24th year, scouts will begin canvassing homes in the pick-up area in early December. Once you’ve secured a pick-up tag, put your clean tree on the curb before 8 a.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2020 and scouts will collect it. The minimum donation is $15 per tree.

You may also reserve a pick-up tag via email or voice message. Call 425-954-6582 and leave your address and phone number before December 31 or email bsatroop600@gmail.com. Then, attach your donation to your tree in a plastic bag and place it curbside before 8 a.m. on January 4, 2020.

If you don’t live in the area or didn’t secure a pick-up tag, you can still participate in this treecycling program by dropping your tree off at Chinook Middle School (2001 98th Ave. N.E.) between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on January 4, 2020. The scouts will accept cash, checks made payable to Boy Scout Troop 600 or credit cards. There’s a $15 minimum donation. Psst! After receiving your tree, the scouts will happily vacuum the needles out of your trunk for free!

For safety reasons, Boy Scout Troop 600 cannot accept flocked or artificial trees, trees wrapped in plastic or with metal attachments, trees with tinsel or nails or wreathes with metal shape wires.

photo: Pixabay

Purchase a Living Tree
This year, you can add a green twist to your family’s holiday tree hunting tradition by purchasing a living tree at Swansons Nursery. The garden store carries a great selection of live trees, including trees from around the world. But plan ahead, living trees can only be kept indoors for one week. Then, they must either be planted outside in the garden or in an outdoor container. Living trees also require a little extra love when used indoors—download Swanson Nursery’s living tree care sheet to learn more.

Note: The cost of purchasing a living tree depends on the tree’s size, and generally ranges from $50 to $125. Trees vary in size from as small as 18” to 6’ or taller.

Swansons Nursery
9701 15th Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98117
Online: picktheperfecttree.com/living-trees
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed on Christmas Day & New Year’s Day)

photo: Pixabay

Holiday Light Recycling

If you have burned-out light strands or you’ve decided to replace your old school lights with new energy-efficient LED ones, there are several places around the city to recycle your holiday lights.

Light Recycling Tips: Remove all packaging, twist-ties and rubber bands from the light strands and place the lights in the bin without bags or extra material. Most of the places listed below will take your lights through the beginning of January. However, we recommend you call ahead and confirm before dropping them off.

All seven Puget Sound area McLendon Hardware stores will take your old holiday lights as well as the Maple Leaf Ace Hardware. Psst! If light strings have the old-style large bulbs, remove the bulbs before dropping them off.

Renton McLendon Hardware
440 Rainier Ave. S.
Renton, WA 98057
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Puyallup McLendon Hardware
11307 Canyon Rd. E.
Puyallup, WA 98373
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

White Center McLendon Hardware
10210 16th Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98146
206- 762-4090
Hours: Mon.- Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Kent McLendon Hardware
23662 104th Ave. S.E.
Kent, WA 98031
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sumner McLendon Hardware
1111 Fryar Ave.
Sumner, WA 98390
253- 863-2264
Hours: Mon.- Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Woodinville McLendon Hardware
17705 130th N.E.
Woodinville, WA 98072
Hours: Mon.- Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun.: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Tacoma McLendon Hardware
1015 North Pearl St.
Tacoma, WA 98406
Hours: Mon-Sat: 7 a.m.-8 p.m; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Maple Leaf Ace Hardware
9000 Roosevelt Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun.: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Christmas Eve

photo: Jared Lind

A number of other businesses will also be accepting your unwanted holiday light strands and extension cords (working or non-working). Ridwell, a paid recycling collection program serving some King County neighborhoods, will offer its one-day holiday lights collection service on January 23, 2020 for those customers. Uptekk also offers a recycling drop-off center in Pacific and West Seattle Recycling has a drop-off center on 16th Ave. S.W.

If you want to recycle your old holidays lights and save money on new LED lights, take advantage of the mail-in Christmas light recycling program. Instead of driving your lights to a drop off location, simply box them up and mail them to HolidayLEDs.com. In return, you’ll receive a coupon good for 15% off HolidayLEDs.com LED Christmas lights. Holiday lights are accepted year-round. Note: Once you have packed up and shipped your lights, complete the Christmas light recycling form and the company will email you your coupon as soon as they confirm shipment.

Holiday LEDs Recycling
13400 Watertown Plank Rd., Suite 34
Elm Grove, WI 53122
Online: holidayleds.com/christmas-light-recycling-program.aspx

—Kristina Moy

Click here to find out what else is going on in Seattle this holiday season!


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