You’re done with your tree. Now what?

by Tom Beck
Posted 1/4/23

If you’re looking to dispose of your Christmas tree this January, you could simply put it on the curb in front of your house. But there are alternatives.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

You’re done with your tree. Now what?


If you’re looking to dispose of your Christmas tree this January, you could simply put it on the curb in front of your house and the city’s sanitation department will pick it up. 

But you shouldn’t. In fact, sources have confirmed to the Local that this is how the Grinch disposes of his Christmas trees. Instead of simply disposing of your tree, which is useful to nobody, you could donate or recycle it, and there are options to do so nearby. 

One of them is the Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, which uses them as environmental enrichment when rehabilitating animals, like squirrels, possums and birds. 

“They’re great for birds because it gives them an unstable branch to practice landing skills,” said Stephanie Stundon, the clinic’s interim Director of Wildlife. “And possums can work on climbing.”

The Schuylkill Center is accepting donated trees until Jan. 10, which can be dropped off at any time of the day by along the fence next to the shed at 304 Port Royal Avenue in Roxborough. Nobody has to be there for residents to drop off trees, Stundon said. Trees must be completely stripped of any decorations.

“We definitely only take live trees and they have to be free from all decorations,” said Stundon, “or anything animals can choke on.”

Another option for residents of Northwest Philadelphia is to recycle your tree with the Philly Goat Project at Germantown’s Awbury Arboretum. Your tree can either be turned into snacks for goats or wood chips to help cover trails and gardens throughout the city thanks to a partnership with the Streets Department and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. 

Awbury accepts trees at two special events, which they call the Philly Goat Project’s Christmas Tree Cycle, on Saturday Jan. 7 and Saturday Jan. 21 from noon to 3 p.m. (Rain dates, Jan. 8 and 22) There will be more to do than simply drop off your trees. In fact, Philly Goat Project has made it a kind of party, where tree recyclers can explore the farm where the goats roam, pet the goats and consume free s’mores and hot cocoa. They do ask for a $20 donation per Christmas tree, which supports their year-round goat programming. But you can attend even if you aren’t recycling a tree. 

“Philly Goat Project’s Christmas Tree Cycle is a family-friendly farm festival and fundraiser that can be enjoyed by all – with or without a tree,” said Karen Krivit, director of Philly Goat Project. “The event is an inclusive winter festival that shows off how communities coming together can be transformative and joyful.”

The city of Philadelphia will also recycle your tree if you take it to one of their drop off locations, where it will be collected and eventually taken to a vendor who will grind them into wood chips for composting. There are two such sites in Northwest Philadelphia – at Gravers Lane and Seminole Street in Chestnut Hill and at Cathedral Road and Ridge Avenue in Roxborough. Both locations will be available for drop offs on Saturday, Jan. 7 and Saturday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Don’t want to transport your tree? Try Bennett Compost, a company that will pick up your tree at your house and turn it into compost. 

“In Philadelphia if you put your Christmas tree on the curb it goes to city landfills,” said Bennett’s owner, Tim Bennett. “This keeps it out of landfill and sustains your live Christmas tree. We’ll also pick it up.”

Having your tree composted with Bennett Compost will run you $20. To register to get your tree picked up, visit Remaining pickups will happen on the weekends of Jan. 7 and Jan. 14.