O, Christmas Tree

3 easy ways to recycle your Christmas tree for free in Austin

3 easy ways to recycle your Christmas tree for free in Austin

Christmas tree recycle father son
Recycling your tree is easier than ever thanks to City of Austin programs. Photo by Getty Images

Decorations are hung, the shopping is done, and family has gathered from near and far to celebrate the holidays. But even as you bask in the soft glow of another Christmas season, the nagging question remains: What am I supposed to do with this tree after December 25?

Here in Austin, there are a number of ways to dispose of that natural Christmas tree in environmentally friendly and relatively easy ways. 

Curbside pickup
If you have City of Austin curbside pickup (which means the city picks up your trash and recycling), the easiest way is to just drag the tree out with your trash so it can be made into Dillo Dirt, Austin's compost initiative. Make sure to ditch the tree bags (they're not accepted) and note that only real trees can be recycled. 

Austin Resource Recovery will pick up all natural trees, along with yard trimmings, on regularly scheduled collection days, notes a release. Make sure trees are six-feet-tall or smaller, bigger trees are cut in half, and on the curb by 6:30 am. Trees should be free of lights, tinsel, fake snow, and all other decorations.

Zilker Park
Those without curbside pickup (or who are unwilling to wait for their scheduled day), can drop the tree off at the Zilker Metropolitan Park Polo Fields between 10 am and 2 pm on the following days:

  • Saturday, December 28
  • Sunday, December 29
  • Saturday, January 4, 2020
  • Sunday, January 5, 2020

Like the curbside service, trees dropped off in Zilker Park are made into mulch, so they should be natural, without a bag, and free of all decorations. Went wild with the tinsel and spray snow? Don't worry — there's a plan for that.

Alternative drop-off locations
The following places charge a contamination fee for those with tags, decorations, and/or plastic remaining. Bare trees can be dropped off for free.

Texas Disposal Systems
TDS Landfill Creedmoor: 3016 FM 1327, Creedmoor
TDS & Garden-Ville Bee Cave: 4001 RR 620 South, Bee Cave

Whittlesey Landscape Supplies
3219 S IH 35, Round Rock
629 Dalton Ln., Austin

Travis County Transfer Station
2625 Woodall Dr., Leander

Travis County East Service Center
6011 Blue Bluff Rd., Austin

Travis County West Service Center
4501 FM 620, Austin

Del Valle Softball Complex (Behind the Southwest Rural Center)
3614 FM 973, Del Valle

These privately owned companies will also take trees, albeit not for a fee. The city suggests calling for more information before heading out.

Kinser Ranch LLC. — $20/per load
10701 Kinser Lane, Austin 

Austin Wood Recycling — $5/per tree
3875 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park

Good Guys Tree Service — Prices vary
10713 RR 620 North, Austin

Austin Tree Surgeons — Pickup requests only after January 1. Prices start at $25 for pickup and disposal.
150 Pemberton Way, Austin