If you took our advice on the best time to buy a new artificial Christmas tree, you might be wondering what to do with your old one. It doesn’t have to end up in the trash, or collect dust while taking up valuable storage space. Instead, you can explore repurposing ideas from Treetopia.

banner for TT How to Recycle artificial christmas tree

All you need is creativity and research. Here are six ways to recycle artificial Christmas trees and put them to good use.

1. Repurpose your old tree by turning it into wreaths, garlands, and other arrangements.

Recycle artificial Christmas trees by turning them into other holiday decorations. Create swags, wreaths, or garlands with the branches. These arrangements will add a festive touch to your front door, mantel, and tabletops.

recycle old christmas tree into a holiday swag or mini tabletop tree

Create complementary décor for your new holiday centerpiece using your old one. Some ideas include crafting tree picks or mini tabletop trees. One artificial Christmas tree can become many beautiful arrangements.

Planning to create a wreath? Check out this quick and easy guide:

How to Recycle Christmas Trees into Wreaths

Materials:

  • Old Christmas tree branches
  • Wire cutters
  • Wreath base
  • Craft wire or glue gun
  • Ornaments and accents
wreath making supplies

Tip: Wear a pair of gloves before handling your tree to avoid getting nicks and scratches.

How to Set Up Your Treetopia Tree_attaching top section showing fully hinged branches
  1. Snip branches off your old artificial Christmas tree with durable metal cutters. For trees with hinged branches, take out the washers and pins before removing them.
recycling artificial tree branches for wreath making
  1. Trim the needles to your desired length with wire clippers. 
wreath making supplies for Christmas
  1. Craft greenery frames from metal wires. Another option is to buy a ready-made wreath base like a wooden hoop, rattan ring, and iron wire frame.

Tip: Use a garland or geometric wire frame for different arrangements. Another option is a plant holder.

recycle old christmas tree into holiday wreaths
recycle old white christmas tree into colorful wreaths
  1. Before you begin arranging, decide on whether you’re going for a sparse and rustic look or a lush and fully decorated one. The former requires less tree needles.
attaching tree needles onto a foam wreath base
attaching tree needles onto a metal wreath base
gluing tree needles onto a wreath base
  1. Attach the trimmed Christmas tree needles to the frame with craft wire, floral tape, or a glue gun. Another idea is to place floral foam on your frame for easy needle attachment.
How to recycle artificial Christmas trees into a decorated Christmas wreath with red accents
  1. Next, decorate your arrangement with ribbons and ornaments like holly berries, mini bells, and small pinecones. Other ideas are real or artificial flowers, small colorful toys, paper cutouts, and more. 
white Christmas wreath
Jessa of Sparkle Living Blog glammed up her unlit Winter White Wreath with lights.
  1. Bring on the cheer by wrapping the arrangement in lights. Choose the battery-operated type for decorating convenience. You can hang your artificial greenery anywhere without messy wires.
white Christmas wreath on a door
Meredith of Cake and Confetti used a ribbon as an over-the-door double wreath hanger.
  1. Display your arrangement using a wreath hanger. Other nail-free alternatives include nylon strings, fishing lines, sturdy ribbons, and adhesive hooks.

2. Make classy dinner table accents.

repurpose old tree foliage into a unique advent wreath candle holder
repurpose old tree foliage into an advent wreath candle holder

Here’s another repurposing idea: make decorative candle rings to hold your tea lights or smaller candles. You can also create a traditional or modern Advent wreath. These elements suit a classic Christmas spread.

repurpose old tree foliage into table centerpieces

Arrange branches in a pot or vase to serve as an elegant dinner table centerpiece. Combine tree branches with artificial flower stems, or place a handful of trimmed tree needles in a bowl. For the finishing touch, throw colorful Christmas ornaments into the mix.

repurpose old tree foliage into tablescape elements

Use spare tree needles to crate rustic napkin rings. Attach artificial pine, spruce, or fir clippings to a metal ring, twine, or burlap ribbon. These accents are perfect for a rustic glam tablescape.

3. Create charming gift toppers.

repurpose old tree foliage into a gift wrapping accent
repurpose old tree foliage into gift toppers

Instead of ribbons, cover your presents with brown craft paper and top it off with tree needles as accents. Use other nature-inspired decorations like lightweight pinecones or wooden ornaments. Tie it all up with yarn or jute string.

4. Decorate a mini-Christmas village or a kid’s playhouse.

repurpose old tree foliage into decorations for a Christmas village

Go all out with your holiday decorating and create a tabletop Christmas village. Shop for tiny houses and figurines, craft them from cardboard cutouts, or bake gingerbread houses. Keep things real-ish with miniature trees made from tree branches. Repurpose your old colorful Christmas tree by creating an enchanted forest with whimsical trees and shrubs.

Use spare tree needles to decorate your child’s playhouse. Make fun-sized accents like potted indoor plants or shrubs. You can even turn the top section of your tree into a mini-Christmas tree. Making the ornaments with your kids can be a fun bonding activity, too.

6. Keep it up all year round.

Add cheer to your master and kids’ bedroom or home office with your old Christmas tree. Your new one can serve as the main centerpiece in the living room.

It doesn’t have to be stowed after the holidays, either. Use your Christmas tree as a unique decoration for all your celebrations. Remember to give it a good cleaning every now and then. Switch the holiday ornaments with Easter eggs, Independence Day-themed decorations, Halloween accents, and more. Check out the posts below for year-round decorating inspiration:

7. Donate your old tree.

donating old holiday decorations

If your old artificial Christmas tree isn’t damaged, consider donating it. The same goes for ornaments you no longer use.

Non-profit organizations and businesses give you a chance to give back to your community with Christmas tree donations. Look for a local campaign you want to join. Consider schools, nursing homes, and charities. Many of them would appreciate this well-meaning gift and even offer a pick-up service.

8. Send it to a recycling center.

picture of a recycling center

If repurposing isn’t your thing, there are options to dispose of your old or broken Christmas tree properly. Find out if your community offers curbside pick-up of both real and artificial trees around Christmas time. These programs vary from city to city. Check with your local waste management authority to find out available schedules and size limitations, if any.

Also, most cities have a recycling center where you can drop off your plastic, glass, scrap metal, paper, or old artificial Christmas trees. Check if your community has a trash collection service, and read up on their policies. Following the recycling and waste disposal protocols prevents your artificial tree from ending up in a landfill.

Tip: Make sure to take these steps before disposing of your artificial Christmas tree:

  • Take off all garlands, tinsel, and ornaments.
  • Remove all lights strings.
  • Disassemble your artificial tree to make transporting and recycling easier.

We hope this guide helped you think of ways to make new, heartwarming memories with your old artificial tree. Do you have other creative ideas on how to recycle artificial Christmas trees? Share your repurposing ideas in the comments section below!

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