Now that Christmas is over, it's time to think about how to dispose of your holiday decorations.
Christmas trees can quickly become a fire hazard as they dry out, potentially becoming a major source of fuel in a fire. A dry tree can even burn faster than newspaper, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says.
Many locations in the D.C. area are encouraging residents to recycle their Christmas trees and greenery once the holidays are over. All trees must be bare — meaning no tinsel, ornaments or lights left behind — before they can be recycled.
Here's how you can recycle your tree this season:
In Washington, D.C.: Christmas trees and greenery will be collected, composted and made available to many residents for free. Homes served by the Department of Public Works can call 311 between Dec. 27-Jan. 10 to schedule a pickup time, available through Jan. 31. You can also drop off trees at four transfer stations.
If you live in a condo or apartment building with more than four units, contact your building manager for information.
In Montgomery County: If you live in a home or townhouse, put your tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on your usual recycling collection day. Residents of apartments or condominiums should check with their property manager or representative for specific recycling instructions.
The county says residents can also recycle branches and needles at home by composting them or placing them under trees as a temporary winter mulch.
In Prince George's County: Unbagged and undecorated Christmas trees will be collected along with other yard waste on Mondays from Dec. 30 to Jan. 27. Remember to put your tree out by 6 a.m.
In Anne Arundel County: Christmas trees will be collected on your regular recycling day. Trees should be free of decor, and larger trees should be cut in half.
Yard waste is not accepted in plastic bags.
In Alexandria: Residents who receive curbside service can place their trees outside on their regular trash collection day. Trees collected during this time will be made into mulch and will be available to residents in the spring.
In Arlington County: Christmas trees will be collected Dec. 30 through Jan. 10 in Arlington County. Trees must be placed on the curb no later than 6 a.m. on your regular trash collection day. Trees collected intact will later be turned into mulch that will be available at county facilities.
In Fairfax County: According to the county's website, licensed collectors are required by code to collect and recycle Christmas trees of less than 8 feet that have been set out separately at single-family and townhouse communities for the first two weeks in January. Artificial trees no longer in use can be donated.
In Loudoun County: Residents who receive curbside service should contact their homeowners association, town office or private waste collector for Christmas tree collection information.
Residents can also drop their Christmas tress off at the following locations through mid-January, the county says:
- Loudoun County Landfill Recycling Dropoff Center (21101 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg)
- Franklin Park (17501 Franklin Park Drive, Purcellville)
- Town Hall (rear parking lot next to tennis court) (43055 Center Street, South Riding)
- Game Protective Association (16 South Berlin Pike, Lovettsville)
- Claude Moore Park (use Loudoun Park Lane entrance, go to ball fields) (46150 Loudoun Park Lane, Sterling)
In Prince William County: Trees can be dropped off at the following locations to be recycled:
- The Prince William County Landfill (14811 Dumfries Road in Manassas)
- The Balls Ford Road Compost Facility (13000 Balls Ford Road in Manassas)
- Leesylvania State Park (2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive in Woodbridge)
- Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) (5399 Wellington Branch Road in Gainesville)