Recycling your Christmas tree in Indianapolis, IN

Indy Parks and DPW have partnered up to make disposing your live Christmas trees after the holidays easier.

Close up of pine tree with lights

Don’t try to drop off your artificial trees at the recycling locations.

Photo via @arthurs_photography

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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.

Drop-off recycling

Marion County has several sites where residents can drop off their live trees for recycling. Drop-offs will be accepted now until Wednesday, Jan. 31 from dawn until dusk.

Be sure to double check that you’ve removed your tree stand, ornaments, lights, and other decor first. Trees recycled at these locations will be used in soil blends and mulch.

Note: Dropping off trees at locations that are not on the list is considered illegal dumping and is punishable by fines of up to $3,000.

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 and 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 and 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.

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