Sure, the holidays are all fun and games — but if you celebrate Christmas, you know that sooner or later, you have to deal with that “Night of the Living Dead” tree in the corner. That doesn’t mean it’s dumpster-bound. Instead, we have some tips on how to put an old tree to good use.
Curbside pickup 🛻
Both Hillsborough and St. Pete 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-off recycling ♻️
Maybe you just can’t wait for curbside pickup. Drop the tree off yourself at one of Hillsborough County’s solid waste centers (8001 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa or 13000 U.S., Gibsonton) Pinellas County Solid Waste Disposal Complex (3095 114th Ave. N., St. Petersburg) or one of the county’s other locations. Be sure to properly secure the tree to your car if you opt for this route. Bonus: your holiday boxes, tissue paper, and non-foil-lined gift wrap can be dropped off at these same recycling centers.
Natural feeders 🐦
Give back to Mother Nature by making a natural bird feeder. Get creative with edible ornaments (think: orange-apple garlands and peanut butter pine cones), then set the tree out for birds to eat + 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 + spring garden? Ideally, you could shred the tree (for example, 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.