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. Your floor is filled with needles. And you know it’s time to say goodbye.
Tossing 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 post-holiday joy. How? Repurpose or recycle your tree.
While most municipalities will pick up your tree with your trash, there are ways to put it to better use, including feeding it to goats and helping preserve Jersey Shore parks. Here’s where to recycle your tree in the area.
Philly Goat Project Tree-cycling
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. 8 and Jan. 22 from noon to 3 p.m. at Awbury Agricultural Village (6336 Ardleigh St.).
This year, pick from three tree-cycling options: curbside drop-off, walking the tree in yourself at the Washington Lane entrance (ambassadors will be there to guide you), or through the farm drive-through “G.O.A.T. Safari.” Parking can be found in the nearby lot where you can walk over to see the goats on foot. Parking will not be available inside the farm. You don’t need a reservation to recycle your tree; staff will unload it from your car when you arrive. Other activities will be at the farm, too, including a fire pit, hot cocoa, and petting area.
There is a suggested donation of $20 per tree. All proceeds support the Philly Goat Project’s free year-round programming, like goat walks and children’s literacy events. PGP can provide a tax receipt.
Ocean County Christmas tree recycling
Recycle your Christmas tree at one of 17 locations throughout Ocean County through Jan. 31. Locations can be found here. Your tree will get turned into woodchips and used for landscaping projects at park facilities. Recycled trees have also 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. Drop-off times are Monday-Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Althouse Arboretum Christmas tree recycling
Student volunteers of the nonprofit GreenAllies are taking Christmas trees at the Althouse Arboretum in Pottstown on Jan. 8 and 9 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. Students will take the tree off your car, so no need to even get out. Cash donations are accepted.
City of Philadelphia Christmas tree drop-off
Philadelphia has 18 locations for free tree drop-off on Jan. 8 and 15 between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Recycled trees are turned into wood chips 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]
300 Domino Ln. [map]
2601 W. Glenwood Ave. [map]
3901 N. Delaware Ave. [map]
5100 Grays Ave. [map]
3033 S. 63rd St. [map]
Philadelphia neighborhood Christmas tree recycling
Neighborhood associations and community groups host tree-cycling events throughout Philadelphia, including:
East Mount Airy Neighbors is accepting trees (and election yard signs) at Upsala Mansion, 6430 Germantown Ave., on Jan. 2 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. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon and Jan. 9 from noon to 3 p.m. at South Philly High School, 2101 S. Broad St. A $5 donation is required per tree. Wood chips will be available to those who want them for their garden on Jan. 10.
Passyunk Square Civic Association is accepting trees on Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Columbus Square Park (corner of 13th St. and Wharton St.) for a $5 donation.
South Philly Green is accepting trees on Jan. 9 at 17th and Manton Streets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested, and all proceeds benefit South Philly Green and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. A location at Guerin Recreation Center will be accepting donations on January 2 from noon to 3 p.m., with a $5 required donation.
Christmas tree recycling curbside pickup
Too busy to deliver your tree yourself?
Circle Compost offers curbside pickup on the weekends of Jan. 8 and 15 for $20. Sign up online, and put your tree outside your house on the Friday night (by midnight) of your pickup weekend. Maximum tree height allowed is 14 feet. Trees are turned into wood chips to be used as mulch or compost for Philly’s nonprofit urban farms.
Bennett Compost will pick up your tree on the weekends of Jan. 8 and 15, for a fee of $20. All trees picked up are recycled into compost for gardens.
This article has been updated since it first published. Grace Dickinson and Steven White contributed to this article.