Sure, the holidays are all fun and games — but if you celebrate Christmas, you know that sooner or later you have to deal with that “Night of the Living Dead” tree in the corner. That doesn’t mean it’s dumpster-bound. Instead, we have some tips on how to put an old tree to good use.
The City of Austin will recycle your tree for you: all you have to do is bring it out to the curb for your neighborhood’s usual composting pick-up day. To make sure it gets properly recycled, remove the tinsel, garland, tree stand + ornaments before bringing it out — trees over six feet tall should be cut in half.
Maybe you just can’t wait for curbside pickup. Drop the tree off yourself at Zilker Park, or a number of other free drop off locations, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30 and the weekend of Jan. 6 + 7. Be sure to properly secure the tree to your car if you opt for this route.
(Bonus: You can come back on Jan. 10 to pick up free mulch from these recycled trees. If you’re handy and want to do it yourself, try renting a mulcher from Home Depot or another home store.) Click here for a list of other free + fee-based drop-off locations across Austin.
Give back to Mother Nature by making a natural bird feeder. Get creative with edible ornaments (think: orange-apple garlands and peanut butter pine cones), then set the tree out for birds to eat + take shelter. If your property includes a pond or lake, you can toss in the tree to make a natural reef, giving local fish a home.
Artificial trees can’t be recycled in Austin, but you can check in with local churches + charities that may accept them as a donation, or reuse them to construct new holiday decorations. (Pro tip: The crafting could make for a fun family holiday activity next season.)