Sure, the holidays are all fun and games — but if you celebrate Christmas with a live tree, you know that sooner or later you have to deal with that “Night of the Living Dead” tree in the corner. We have some tips on how to put an old tree to good use.
The City of Richmond will recycle your tree for you: All you have to do is bring it out to the curb for your neighborhood’s usual pick-up day. To make sure it gets properly recycled, you’ll need to remove the tinsel, garland, tree stand, and ornaments before bringing it out.
Drop the tree off yourself at the Bring One for the Chipper tree recycling event on Saturday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Parker Field Annex by Robin Hood Road and North Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
The Central Virginia Waste Management Authority will also take your trees at the East Richmond Road Convenience Center (3800 E. Richmond Rd.) in the yard waste area or at the designated area at the Parker Field Annex through Jan. 13.
Pro tip: Be sure to properly secure the tree to your car if you opt for this route. Your electronics, holiday boxes, tissue paper, and non-foil-lined gift wrap can be dropped off at these same recycling centers.
Give back to Mother Nature by making a natural bird feeder. Get creative with edible ornaments like orange-apple garlands and peanut butter pine cones, then set the tree out for birds to eat and take shelter. If your property includes a pond or lake, you can toss in the tree to make a natural reef, giving local fish a home.
Make your own mulch
When you take a tree to a recycling center they turn it into mulch anyway. So why not use it for your own yard and spring garden? Ideally, you could shred the tree — Home Depot has mulchers for rent — but usually by the time the holidays are over, the needles will already be falling off. You can spread them in garden beds or over the lawn.
Team fake tree
Artificial Christmas trees are not allowed in most recycling centers, but we have a few places that could donate those years of holiday cheer.
Nonprofits like Goodwill will take decoration donations. Senior centers, retirement centers and schools may also have a need for your old tree, if it’s still in good shape.