The 411 on Recycling Trees & Lights in PDX


Sweep up those needles one last time! We’ve got your Portland tree-cycling options outlined here

Even though the season has come and gone, the spirit of gratitude and giving is still with us. So 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 then properly recycling it. Curious about Christmas tree recycling in Portland? Check out the four easiest ways to repurpose and recycle your tree along with pro-tips on Christmas tree recycling locally.

Portland Christmas Tree Recycling Ideas

Sean Foster on Unsplash

Recycling Your Christmas Tree in Portland: Where to Start

If you are interested in recycling your Christmas tree in Portland, 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.

Pro Tree-cycle 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.

1. 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 a 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. Flocked trees are not accepted for recycling curbside.

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


2. Find a Boy Scout Troop in the Area

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

Cost: Minimum donation $10-$15

Portland Christmas Tree Recycling

3. 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 or search for recycling centers online. This site offers a recycle center name, distance from your entered location, and if they pick up and or drop off.


4. Repurpose It in Your 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.


How & Where to Recycle Christmas Lights

Bob Ricca via Unsplash

Ideas for Recycling Holiday Lights

Have a few strands of holiday lights that aren’t working? Or maybe you consolidated your working lights this year? There are different ways to get them off your hands in an 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 incandescent lights. Just swing by the customer service counter to learn more.


Subscribe to Ridwell

Dedicated to reducing waste, the folks at Ridwell will pick up your holiday lights and recycle the electronic bits and the glass as well for those who subscribe to this additional Portland recycling service. Check out Ridwell for all sorts of other recycling needs that can help your family keep items out of the landfill.


Additional reporting by Taylor Clifton


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