AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re not sure what to do with your tree once the holidays are over, recycling is an option. There are recycling programs in Austin and in Travis County for those who want to stay green.

Austin tree recycling

Austinites can recycle their natural Christmas trees starting on Dec. 26 through curbside pickup or by dropping them off at Zilker Park.

Annually, holiday tree recycling keeps nearly 20,000 trees out of area landfills, according to a press release from the City of Austin. Recycling trees each year helps the city work toward its goal of reaching zero waste by 2040.

City of Austin curbside customers can recycle their trees by setting it at the curb by 5:30 a.m. on their regularly scheduled compost collection day. All trees for curbside collection that are six feet or taller must be cut in half.

Another option is to drop trees off at the Zilker Park Polo Fields between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the following days:

  • Saturday, December 31, 2022
  • Saturday, January 7, 2023
  • Sunday, January 8, 2023

The following tree recycling guidelines must be followed for both curbside and Zilker Park recycling:

  • Trees sprayed with flocking or artificial snow are not accepted.
  • Remove all ornaments, tinsel, decorations, lights and tree stands.
  • Do not place trees in plastic bags.
  • Only natural, non-artificial trees may be recycled.

Trees collected at Zilker Park will be turned into mulch and available for free on a first-come, first-served basis beginning January 12 at 9 a.m.

Travis County tree recycling

Travis County residents can bring their trees to one of five free recycling drop-off locations. The County drop-off sites will be open Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, through Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS

West Service Center 

4501 FM 620 Austin, TX 78732 

Del Valle Adult Softball Complex 

3614 FM 973, Del Valle, TX 78617 

Northeast Metro Park 

15500 Sun Light Near Way, Pflugerville, TX 78660 

Collection Center 

2625 Woodall Dr. Leander, TX 78613 

East Service Center 

6011 Blue Bluff Austin, TX 78724 

Before dropping off your tree, follow the disposal requirements listed below to ensure trees can be mulched and recycled. There is no charge for Travis County residents to drop off their trees. 

Tree Disposal Requirements:  

  • Only natural trees are accepted (no plastic/artificial trees) 
  • Remove all ornaments, decorations, lights, and tree stands (wooden blocks) 
  • Remove all nails, screws, staples, wire, and metal  
  • Trees sprayed with flocking or artificial snow are not accepted 
  • Do not place the tree in a “tree bag” or any plastic bag  
  • Netting or rope wrapped around tree is not accepted 
  • Trees taller than 6 ft must be cut in half  

For a list of alternative drop-off locations provided by Travis County or businesses that take natural trees, visit austintexas.gov/treerecycling.