By now, that tree in the living room is probably transitioning, from fire hazard and symbol of holiday cheer to extreme fire hazard and sad reminder that it’s nearly time to begin your diet, exercise and sobriety plans. Here are some ways to dispose of your Christmas tree in the Seattle area:
In Seattle, you can put up to two trees next to your yard waste cart on collection day through the end of January. You can also bring up to three trees — no more than 8 feet long and 4 inches in diameter — to city waste transfer stations. Beginning Feb. 1, extra disposal fees apply for both curbside pickup and disposal at transfer stations.
Lights, ornaments and anything else that’s not part of the tree should be removed first, of course.
Several other area cities offer similar free or discounted pickup programs for trees during January. King County’s “Green Holidays” website — www.kcgreenholidays.com — offers links to programs for other cities and towns, as well as a list of public and private waste-handling facilities around the county along with hours and prices charged for tree disposal. The site also offers resources for recycling other holiday items, such as lights, wrapping paper, cooking oil from that mega batch of latkes and electronics.
Local groups, such as the Boy Scouts, will pick up and dispose of trees, or collect them at a central location, for a donation. For example, Boy Scout Troop 600 is scheduling pickups within a large service area in Bellevue west of Interstate 405 for $15 each, provided scheduling is completed by Dec. 31. Sammamish Scout troops have a similar program for the Sammamish plateau.
In Snohomish County, options include Everett Community College, which has been recycling trees since 2009. People can drop them off at a campus parking lot for free on weekdays during January.
There are also a variety of ways to reuse a Christmas tree in your own yard.
Trees can become temporary habitat for birds seeking shelter in winter. Stand the tree up outside in a corner of the yard and load its branches with suet cakes or bird seed.
Christmas tree branches can also make a good base for a backyard compost bin or mulch for lining garden paths. And the tree trunk can be sliced into discs for use in next year’s holiday crafts.