Dispose of Christmas trees

Last updated: 5 February 2021

Are plant or plastic trees more sustainable?

The most sustainable Christmas tree is a home-made arrangement of branches, or a potted plant such as an Australian native pine – something you can use year after year. Even if your intention is to buy and reuse a plastic tree, it is always better to buy a plant instead of non-biodegradable plastic. A plant is a renewable resource, 100% biodegradable and easily recycled. Plastic Christmas trees are generally made of non-recyclable, non-degradable plastics and metals that won't decompose, meaning they'll all eventually end up in landfill.

Why recycle Christmas trees?

Living Christmas trees are 100% biodegradable and easily recycled. Recycle your Christmas tree to:

  • reduce landfill
  • reduce littering and dumping
  • minimise greenhouse gases.

How to recycle Christmas trees

Mulch and compost your tree

Disposing of a real Christmas tree is simple if you have a mulcher at home. The mulch can be added to your garden or compost.

Hard rubbish collection/drop-off

Some councils organise curb-side pick-up of Christmas trees in the new year, or you can hold onto them until your next scheduled hard rubbish collection. Some cut tree suppliers will also take back used trees for mulching.

What happens to recycled Christmas trees?

Properly recycled Christmas trees are turned into mulch. The mulch is then used in agriculture, to keep parklands green or sold back to the community to keep home gardens healthy.

Other ways to live sustainably at Christmas

There are many, many ways to live sustainably at Christmas. For a start, try our top five:

  1. Buy good quality decorations that can be reused or make your own.
  2. Find out what your recipients really want, or choose an experience or charity gift.
  3. Choose reusable or recyclable wrapping such as paper.
  4. Prevent food waste by planning ahead and composting or worm farming your food scraps.
  5. Recycle your food and drink packaging.