Q: How can I get rid of my Christmas tree now that Christmas is over? Do I need to take it somewhere or will it be picked up from my house?
Answer: In Hillsborough County, there are three yard waste processing facilities that accept Christmas trees:
350 Falkenburg Road, Tampa; (813) 744-5599
13001 U.S. 41, Gibsonton; (813) 671-7611
8001 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa; (813) 264-3816
The yard waste sites are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Christmas tree drop-off service is limited to Hillsborough County solid waste residential customers. Residential customers must bring their current tax bill and proper identification to access and use the facilities listed above. Customers must remove all decorations, lights and tinsel from their trees.
Trees do not need to be cut into 4-foot sections if delivered to one of the three sites above. However, all trees must be unloaded by the customer. Non-county residential solid waste customers must pay a tonnage fee to use these facilities.
Artificial trees are not accepted at county yard waste processing facilities.
A second option is to put your Christmas tree out for curbside pick-up on your regular yard waste collection day. Again, remove all decorations, lights and tinsel. The tree must be cut into pieces that are no more than 4 feet in length and no more than 6 inches in diameter.
Or you can recycle your Christmas tree by placing it in your backyard. The deteriorating tree will provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife. To provide food for birds, you can hang suet or sliced fruit from the branches.
Another way to recycle the tree is to chop it up and grind it to use as mulch around trees, shrubs and flower beds. Or you can use it as outdoor firewood. Be sure you let the tree age as burning sap can be smoky and hazardous. Freshly cut wood does not burn as well as aged wood. Check with your city/county for outdoor burning regulations.
For Tampa residents, the city’s tree collection service will run Monday through Friday. Residents are asked to remove all decorations and lights, cut tree limbs to 4-foot lengths, bundle and place curbside on their regularly scheduled yard-waste collection day.
For questions or concerns regarding Christmas tree disposal, contact Tampa Utility Services Customer Care at (813) 348-1111, or visit www.tampagov.net/solidwaste. For questions or concerns about Hillsborough County Christmas tree disposal, please contact customer service at (813) 272-5680, or call me at (813) 744-5519 for recycling alternatives.
Lynn Barber is the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods agent at Hillsborough Extension. Reach her at BarberL@hillsborough county.org.