The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) in the Department of Environmental Protection reminds residents that they may recycle their Christmas trees by placing the entire tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on their recycling collection day, as part of the County’s curbside yard trim recycling collection program.
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Residents are reminded to keep trees in their natural state and to remove the stand and all decorations, including lights, ornaments, tinsel and garlands. There should be nothing attached to the tree. Residents are also reminded not to place trees in plastics bags. Trees with root balls are considered “live” and therefore cannot be collected as part of this recycling program. In addition, artificial trees cannot be collected as part of the recycling program.
Wreaths, garlands and roping made from evergreen trees are typically bound together with wire, and cannot be recycled unless the wire is removed from the greens. If there is no wiring attached, the greens may be placed in paper bags or in reusable containers or bundled as yard trim and placed at the curb for collection on recycling day.
Residents of apartments and condominiums, as well as businesses, should check with their property or business manager for specific Christmas tree recycling instructions.
After Christmas trees are collected for recycling, they are shredded into mulch that will be available in January and February for residents to take at County-operated Neighborhood Mulch Preserves located at the following locations: Montgomery County Recycling Center, 16105 Frederick Rd. in the Derwood/Rockville/Gaithersburg area; and at E.E. Halmos Park (use the Bodmer Ave. entrance) in Poolesville. The mulch is free but must be loaded and transported by the user.
Residents are also advised that Christmas tree branches and needles may be recycled at home by placing them under outdoor trees and shrubs as temporary winter mulch, or they may be chopped up and added to a backyard compost pile or compost bin. Mulch is good to use on woody plants, such as bushes, shrubs and trees; as a cover material on walkways or other areas where vegetation needs to be controlled; and as a carbon-rich addition to home compost piles or compost bins. Because the mulch is “green,” it must be aged for at least six to eight months before it can be used on flowers, vegetables or other plants with tender or shallow root systems.
For more information about Christmas tree recycling, the Neighborhood Mulch Preserves and/or using mulch, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/recycling or call Montgomery County's Customer Service Center at 311 (out-of-County: 240-777-0311, TTY: 301-251-4850).