Your once-glorious live Christmas tree is likely starting to lose its magic. While still covered in sparkling lights and ornaments, the beginnings of brown and bald spots may be appearing, too. Your floor is filled with needles. And you know it’s time to say goodbye.
Bidding adieu to your tree — the last symbol of holiday cheer — is never an easy or fun task. But you can make it a tradition that benefits others, and in return, perhaps brings you a little postholiday joy. How? Repurpose or recycle your tree.
While most municipalities will pick up your tree with your trash, there are plenty of places where you can put it to better use, whether that means feeding it to adorable goats or processing it to beautify Jersey Shore parks. Here’s where to tree-cycle in the area.
Feed it to the local goats
Furry friends at the Philly Goat Project are ready to munch on your holiday leftovers. The community-based program is hosting tree-cycling on Jan. 9 and Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Awbury Agricultural Village (6336 Ardleigh St.) and on Jan. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center (3850 W. Ford Rd.).
Due to the pandemic, visitor capacity is limited. But you can still see the goats. Sign up for a time slot online for the “G.O.A.T. Christmas Safari,” where you can watch the goats (and chickens) from your car. Or park in the nearby lot and walk over to see the goats on foot. You don’t need a reservation to recycle your tree; staff will unload it from your car when you arrive.
Tree-cycling costs $20 per tree. All proceeds support the Philly Goat Project at Awbury Arboretum.
Restore the shore’s parks and dunes
Recycle your Christmas tree at one of 17 locations throughout Ocean County through Jan. 31. Locations can be found here Trees are turned into woodchips that are used for various landscaping projects at park facilities. In the past, recycled trees have been used to help replenish the dunes in the area. The timber is used to line the sand dunes and prevent erosion, which has become more common as development along beaches increases.
Cover trails at the Althouse Arboretum
Student volunteers of the nonprofit GreenAllies organization are accepting Christmas trees at the Althouse Arboretum in Pottstown on Jan. 9 and 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trees are chipped and used to cover the arboretum’s walking trails. This is a drive-through event, and drop-off is free. Cash donations are accepted.
Citywide drop-off locations
Philadelphia offers 13 locations for free tree drop-off on Jan. 9 and 16. Recycled trees are turned into woodchips and used for composting.
54th St. & Woodbine Ave. [map]
Broad St. & Christian St.[map]
1400 Cottman Ave. (Jardel Recreation) [map]
Corinthian Ave. & Poplar St. [map]
American St. & Thompson St. [map]
Cathedral Rd. & Ridge Ave. [map]
15th St. & Bigler St. [map]
4800 Wayne Ave. (Happy Hollow Recreation) [map]
7901 Ridgeway St. (Fox Chase Recreation) [map]
43rd St. & Powelton Ave. [map]
Castor Ave. & Foulkrod St. [map]
Graver Ln. & Seminole St. [map]
Washington Ln. & Ardleigh St. [map]
An array of neighborhood associations and community groups host tree-cycling events throughout Philadelphia, including the following:
East Mt. Airy Neighbors is accepting trees (and election yard signs) at Upsala Mansion, 6430 Germantown Ave., on Jan. 3 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. A minimum $5 donation is required per tree.
Lower Moyamensing Civic Association is accepting trees on Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon and Jan. 10 from noon to 3 p.m. at South Philly High School, 2101 South Broad St. A $5 donation is required per tree. Woodchips will be available to those who want them for their garden on Jan. 10.
Passyunk Square Civic Association is accepting trees on Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Columbus Square Park (corner of 13th St. and Wharton St.) for a $5 donation.
South of South Neighborhood Association is accepting trees and wreaths on Jan. 9 and 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at 1601 Washington Ave. A $5 donation is accepted, and all proceeds will go toward the Friends of Carpenter Green Park.
South Philly Green is accepting trees on Jan. 3 at 17th and Manton Streets (9 a.m. to noon) and at 16th and Wolf Streets (noon to 3 p.m.). A $5 donation is suggested, and all proceeds will benefit South Philly Green and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Too busy to deliver your tree yourself?
Circle Compost offers curbside pickup for the weekends of Jan. 2 and 9 for $20. Sign up online, and place your tree outside your house on the Friday night (by midnight) of your pickup weekend. Maximum tree height allowed is 14feet. Trees are turned into woodchips to be used as mulch or compost for Philly’s nonprofit urban farms.
South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) will pick up trees on Jan. 9 for $20. You must live within the area from South Street to Washington Avenue and Broad Street to the Schuylkill. Sign up online, and place your tree outside your house by 10 a.m. on Jan. 9. SOSNA has partnered with Bartlett Tree Experts to recycle all trees.
South Philly Green will pick up trees on Jan. 3 for $15. You must live south of Washington Avenue and west of Broad Street. Sign up online by Jan. 2 at noon, and place your tree outside your house by 9 a.m. on Jan. 3. South Philly Green has partnered with Bartlett Tree Experts to recycle all trees.