As the holiday season wraps up it's time to dispose of Christmas trees. If you're one of the 30 million households that got a cut live Christmas tree, you're probably thinking about disposing of it now. Here in Medford, Mayor McGlynn has arranged for curbside pickup of Christmas trees as part of our Waste Management contract. The trees will be chipped and composted as part of their yard waste program.
Medford Christmas tree curbside pickup will be Jan 9-13 on the same day as your regular trash pickup.
Please remove everything from your tree, as tinsel, lights, decorations and plastic bags are not compostable. Do not put your tree in a plastic bag; it is Waste Management's policy to not pick up trees in plastic bags.
"But Alicia, I have a plastic bag already positioned under my tree so I can pull it up and over and carry it out of the house without getting pine needles everywhere, it's brilliant!" I know, it is a great way to keep from getting needles all over. When my mom went to put her's under the tree this year as we were setting it up, we discussed a great option: use the bag to carry the tree outside, then take scissors and cut the side of the bag and roll the tree out of it!
"Alicia, I didn't see this post until after the pickup and they didn't take my tree-in-a-bag, now what?" If you put your tree out too late, or in a bag, you don't have a lot of options. You can NOT put it in your regular trash, dump it on your neighbors lawn or burn it. You may cut it into short pieces and put it in a can to put out for the next yard waste pickup in the spring.
"Don't burn it? I always burn my tree! It smells great!" It so happens that burning wood puts soot into the air that is noxious to breathe. You know how you sit around a campfire and you dislike it when the smoke gets in your face? Well that's a self-preservation instinct. Smoke is bad for your lungs and releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere. Burning unseasoned wood (like a fresh cut Christmas tree) in a fireplace is particularly bad for your chimney and can lead to chimney fires. Burning yard waste is also illegal in Medford.
"But I don't live in Medford? What are my options?" Check out Earth911 and search on "Christmas Tree" and your zipcode in their search box. They'll let you know what your local options are!
For more information on some creative things being done with used Christmas trees, see the National Christmas Tree Association listing.