How To Keep Your Christmas Tree Out Of A Colorado Landfill This Year

December 26, 2019
The 2019 official White House Christmas tree features the floral emblem of every state and U.S. territory.The 2019 official White House Christmas tree features the floral emblem of every state and U.S. territory.Caitlyn Kim/CPR News
The 2019 official White House Christmas tree features the floral emblem of every state and U.S. territory.

OK. Christmas is over.

Well, not for me. I am going to take this opportunity to brag about my family's tradition of celebrating the full 12 days of Christmas. So the holiday may be over for you, but I'll be wishing you a Merry Christmas and watching various adaptations of "A Christmas Carol" for 11 more days.

But if you bought a natural Christmas tree this year, you'll have to get rid of it somehow — regardless of how long you celebrate.

Christmas trees take around 10 years to grow. In a landfill, it would take that tree much longer to decompose. Landfills are so tightly packed, waste doesn't have access to the oxygen it needs to break down organic material. That means when your tree finally does decompose, it will release methane, a greenhouse gas.

Many municipalities across Colorado have free tree recycling or composting programs for holiday pines that have served their festive purpose.

Fun fact: Some towns, including Eagle and Frisco, burn Christmas trees in giant bonfires.

Experts recommend you don't burn your tree on your own, though. That's something that can spark wildfires.

Here's a CPR roundup of ways you can sustainably ditch your natural Christmas tree. (Yes, you'll have to clear off all lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree stands first.)


Arvada: The city will accept trees for recycling anytime through Jan. 19.
• Lake Arbor Lake Park, 6400 Pomona Drive
• Stenger Fields at West 58th Avenue and Oak Street

Aurora: The city offers three drop-off spots for tree recycling.
• Del Mar Park, 12000 E. Sixth Ave.
• Saddle Rock Golf Course, 21705 E. Arapahoe Road
• Olympic Park, 15501 E. Yale Ave.

Castle Rock: Drop-off trees any time through Jan. 31.
• Founders Park, 4671 Enderud Blvd.
• Metzler Ranch Community Park, 4175 Trail Boss Drive
• Paintbrush Park, 3492 Meadows Blvd.

Colorado Springs: The El Pomar Youth Sports Park offers seven locations to drop-off natural trees with a suggested donation of $5 that will go to area youth sports and service organizations, according to its website.

Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 4-5, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following locations:
• Baptist Road Trailhead, Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway
• Falcon Trailhead, SW of Woodmen Road and McLaughlin Road
• Cottonwood Creek Park, Dublin Boulevard and Montarbor Road
• Sky Sox Stadium, Barnes Road and Tutt Boulevard
• Rock Ledge Ranch, Gateway Road and 30th Street
• Memorial Park, Pikes Peak Avenue and Union Boulevard

Jan. 2-31, Weekdays 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at this single location:
• 1755 E. Las Vegas St.

Denver: Set your trees out at least 2 feet away from your waste bins by 7 a.m. on your scheduled trash collection day between Jan. 6 and 17 and Denver will pick up your tree for free. Plus, you can come back in May and pick up free mulch made from your tree at the annual Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale. In 2018, Denver collected over 21,500 trees for recycling.

You can also drop off your tree until Jan. 31:
• Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off, 7354 E. Cherry Creek Drive S.
• Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
• Havana Nursery, 10450 Smith Road
• Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Closed on weekends.

Douglas County: Drop-off trees any time through Jan. 31.
• Bayou Gulch, 4815 Fox Sparrow Road, Parker
• Challenger Regional Park, 17299 E. Lincoln Ave., Parker
• Fairgrounds Regional Park, 500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock
• Highland Heritage Regional Park, 9651 S. Quebec St.

Fort Collins: Live Christmas trees will be accepted at three locations. Be advised that fees may apply.
• Timberline Recycling Center, Hard to Recycle Materials Yard, 1903 S. Timberline Road
• Hageman Earth Cycle Inc., 3501 E. Prospect Ave.
• Larimer County Green Waste Program, 5887 S. Taft Hill Road

Greeley: Greeley and Weld County residents can recycle Christmas trees at the Greeley Organic Waste Center through Jan 31.
GROW Center, 1130 E 8th St.
10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday

Highlands Ranch: Drop-off trees any time through Jan. 17.
• Dad Clark Park, 3385 Asterbrook Circle
• Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Circle
• Toepfer Park, 9480 Venneford Ranch Road

Mesa County: The county will compost your tree. Drop trees off at the county landfill (3071 U.S. Highway 50). Open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Parker: Drop-off trees through Jan. 29.
• Salisbury Park (East paved parking lot), 12010 S. Motsenbocker Road, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Vail: Public Works crews will pick up your tree for free through Jan. 31. The department says trees should be left whole and placed at the side of the road, not blocking the roadway. The trees are chipped and turned into mulch for the town’s summer landscaping program. Or drop off your tree: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday—Friday at the Public Works shops on Elkhorn Drive north of the Vail golf course.

Wheat Ridge: The city has a free tree recycling program for residents that runs through the end of February. Drop sites are open from sunrise to sunset:
• Prospect Park, 11300 W 44th Ave.
• Panorama Park, W 33rd Ave & Fenton St.

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