Check out our list of eco-friendly businesses and services that make it easy to recycle your tree and lights

There’s nothing like a fresh Christmas tree, decorated to the nines, to get the kiddos in the holiday spirit. Yet after a few weeks, those trees get a little droopy and dry. Before you toss your old tree and lights out on the curb, try the eco-friendly option of treecycling that turns your holiday tree into everything from garden mulch to wood chips. It’s easier than you think when you bring your pines and lights to a Seattle Christmas tree recycling spot.

Seattle Christmas Tree Recycling Ideas

1. 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.


2. Tree Recycling & Disposal Stations

At several King County Recycling and Transfer Stations, clean trees can be recycled as yard waste starting in January. 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. At all other King County facilities, trees will be accepted as garbage at the garbage fee which ranges from $1 to $5 per tree.


3. Contact a Local Scout Group

Many area Scouting groups host annual Christmas tree recycling events. This year Seattle and Eastside troops are making plans to keep the tradition going. Scout Troop 600, serving West Bellevue (Beaux Arts, Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts, or Yarrow Points), is one that traditionally holds an event and has one planned for 2022. Keep your eyes peeled for these pop-ups around the city, and remember for safety reasons many troops 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.


4. Purchase a Living Tree

This year, you can add a sustainable twist to your family’s holiday tree-hunting tradition by purchasing a living tree at a nearby nursery. Swanson's Nursery carries a great selection of live trees, including trees from around the world. On the Eastside, Squak Mt. Greenhouses & Nursery offers spruce, pines, firs, and more to add sustainability to your season. Plan ahead for this option, as living trees can only be kept indoors for around a 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.

Where to Recycle Christmas Lights

Bring Them to a Local Hardware Store or Drop-Off Center

If you have burned-out light strands or you’ve decided to replace your traditional lights with new energy-efficient LED ones, there are several places around the city to recycle your old holiday lights. All seven Puget Sound area McLendon Hardware stores will take your old holiday lights, as will the Maple Leaf Ace Hardware. Uptekk also offers a recycling drop-off center in Auburn, and West Seattle Recycling has a drop-off center on 16th Ave. S.W. in the city. If light strings have old-style large bulbs, remove the bulbs before dropping them off.

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Get Them Picked Up

Ridwell, a paid recycling collection program serving many King County neighborhoods, does item pick-up every two weeks. If you've been thinking about subscribing to this service, maybe now's the time. Be sure to sign up by mid-December so your account is ready to go once the holidays are over.


Trade Them in by Mail

If you want to recycle your old holiday 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


Donate Your Lights

All those magical displays you see around the neighborhood? They take a lot of prep and tons of twinkling lights to put on every year. Many are looking for (and appreciate) donated lights and other outdoor holiday decor. The Very Merry Christmas House is a particularly eco-conscious display—much of their decor is saved from the landfill, with new pieces added every year.

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