The new year has arrived, which means it’s time to sweep up the pine needles, store the ornaments and get rid of that tree. 

King County and the city of Seattle offer several options to dispose of Christmas trees or have them picked up with regular trash and compost collection.

In Seattle, residents can place up to two trees or other holiday greens such as garlands on the curb next to their food and yard waste bins for regular trash pickup through Jan. 31. 

Trees must be unflocked and undecorated, and be cut to 4-foot lengths. The trunk diameter should not exceed 4 inches. An extra yard waste fee will apply for pickup starting Feb. 1. 

For Seattle apartment residents, two trees can be placed next to each food and yard waste bin without additional cost each collection day.

Christmas trees up to 8 feet tall can also be dropped off at city transfer stations for free through Jan. 31. Up to three trees per car are free; all must be unflocked and free of decorations. Transfer stations also accept taller trees cut to less than 8 feet tall.


Elsewhere in King County, a number of recycling and transfer stations accept holiday trees for a yard waste recycling fee of at least $18. Facilities accepting tree drop-offs as yard waste include recycling and transfer stations in Tukwila, Enumclaw, Bellevue, Shoreline and Vashon. 

All other King County recycling and transfer stations accept holiday trees for a garbage fee of at least $30.25.

In some cases, local haulers like Waste Management or Republic Services that provide yard waste collection may offer free pickups on regular garbage days. Deadlines are fast approaching, however. In Auburn, for example, residents can get free holiday tree pickup through Friday.

Residents can find their local garbage and recycling hauler on King County’s website and contact them to determine whether free local holiday tree pickup is available in their area.