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How to dispose of your Christmas tree in 5 steps

Don't be one of those people who leave their Christmas tree up until March.

Here's the best way to dispose of your tree after the holidays in five simple steps.

Step One: Remove ornaments and lights

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but Karen Doyle, co-owner of Family Tree Farm in Red Lion, said you’d be surprised how many people lose ornaments every year because they forget to take one off the tree. Be sure to double check so you have all of your ornaments for next year, she said.

Step Two: Wrap the tree in a plastic bag

The best way to avoid tracking needles through your house is to wrap your tree in a plastic bag, Doyle said. Disposable tree bags can be purchased from most Christmas tree farms and should be placed underneath the tree before it's decorated. Then – once you’ve removed the ornaments, lights and tinsel – pull the bag up over the tree for easy disposal.

If you don’t have a bag, Doyle suggests wrapping the tree in a blanket, old table cloth or tarp before carrying it outside.

Step Three: Wrap up the stump

Whether you use a tree bag, a blanket or a tarp, make sure you have something on hand to wrap around the stump before you take the tree outside, Gian Walker, partner at McPherson Tree Farm, said. Otherwise, the stump will drip water all through the house. A plastic grocery bag should do the job, she said.

Step Four: Put the tree outside for pickup

Most York County municipalities offer curbside collection for your Christmas tree. Simply, remove the plastic bag from the tree and leave it on the curb. Check your municipality’s website for the date this service is offered.

If you miss the pick-up date or don’t have curbside collection, there is another option. From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, you can drop off your Christmas tree for free at the York County Solid Waste Authority’s yard waste site during daylight hours seven days a week, YCSWA spokeswoman Ellen O’Connor said.  The yard waste site is located behind the management center at 2700 Blackbridge Road, York.

All Christmas trees collected curbside or brought to the site will be recycled, chipped into mulch and redistributed in the community, O’Connor said.

Another option: If you live in a wooded area, you can prop your tree up in the backyard, hang bird feeders on it and use it as a natural habitat for birds and rabbits, Walker said.

Step Five: Clean up

Use a dust pan and broom to sweep up as many needles as you can before you use the vacuum cleaner, Montandon Acres owner Greg King said. The needles could hurt your vacuum.