Reston, VA

As the holiday season comes to a close and the new year approaches, it may be time to throw out your old Christmas tree and greenery.

Residents of Fairfax County have between Jan. 11 and 22 for recycling Christmas trees. Live Christmas trees of less than eight feet will be collected curbside outside of single family and townhouse communities on regular garbage collection days during the time period.

Residents may schedule a brush pickup for a tree removal after Jan. 22.

Fairfax County residents can also drop off their trees at the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex. There is a $7 recycling fee per tree at the recycling center. All decorations and stands must be separated before disposing of trees.

In the Town of Herndon, Christmas trees will be collected curbside on residents’ individual trash days between Jan. 8 through the 15. The town requests that all decorations be removed from the tree and placed as close to the curb as possible.

The National Christmas Tree Association lists other recycling options as follows:

  • Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management.
  • Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
  • Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
  • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
  • Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers.
  • Living, rooted trees: Get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and plant it in your yard. (It’s a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.
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With Christmas Day behind us, residents can recycle their Christmas trees. According to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, it’s best to dispose of trees when they get dry due to the risk of fires.

Fairfax County collects trees for recycling in the first two weeks of January — so long as they are less than eight feet tall. Residents with private collection services should consult with the collecting companies.

The National Christmas Tree Association encourages residents to recycle Christmas trees — which are biodegradable:

Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management.

Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.

Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed).  Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.

Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.

Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers.

Living, rooted trees: Get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and plant it in your yard. (It’s a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.  

Residents can also recycle trees at the I-66 Transfer Station, which requires a $7 fee per tree. All ornaments, decorations, and stands must be removed prior to disposal. Artificial trees can be brought to a donation station.

File photo

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Christmas tree disposal — Still haven’t gotten rid of your tree yet? Trees less than 8 feet can be collected outside of single-family and townhouse communities for the first two weeks in January for recycling. [Fairfax County]

Spoof musical comedy opens today — The curtain will rise tonight for NextStop Theatre Company’s “[title of show],” a musical about four friends writing a musical about four friends writing a musical. Intrigued? Tickets start at $40 for the 8 p.m. performance in Herndon. [NextStop Theatre Company]

Scandal with the synagogue — Administrators deny allegations by families saying that the Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon ignored their son’s reports of bullying and ousted them as an act of retaliation for publicly criticizing the congregation. The synagogue’s board of directors voted revoked their membership in November after an alleged confrontation that they claim occurred at the synagogue with another parent and congregant. [Fairfax County Times]

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Christmas tree with Hanukkah ornamentYou’ll have to wait a few more days to get rid of your Christmas tree, assuming if you want it to be collected and recycled.

If you receive Fairfax County curbside pickup of trash and recycling, you can recycle your live Christmas tree on your normal collection date during the first two weeks of January.

The tree can be no more than eight feet tall and all tree stands, ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree toppers should be removed before recycling.

The cost of the collection is included as part of your regular, paid collection service. For larger trees, contact your collector for recycling instructions.

If you are in a private Reston cluster, check with your cluster board or trash service provider to find out specifics for your neighborhood.

Christmas trees may also be recycled at the I-66 Transfer Station. There is a small processing fee of $1 per tree.

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Recycling Christmas Trees/File photoWhen is it time to take down and dispose of the Christmas tree? About now, says the National Fire Protection Association.

“Christmas trees are flammable objects. The longer they’re in your home, the more they dry out, making them a significant fire hazard,” said Lorraine Carli, the NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.

The NFPA says that nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although these fires aren’t common, when they do occur, they’re more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, as compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.

If you receive Fairfax County curbside pickup of trash and recycling, you can recycle your live Christmas tree (less than 8 feet) on your normal collection date. The cost is included as part of your regular, paid collection service. 

If you are in a private Reston cluster, check with your cluster board or trash service provider to find out specifics for your neighborhood.

For larger trees, contact your collector for recycling instructions.

Christmas trees may also be recycled during the first two weeks in January at the I-66 Transfer Station. There is a small processing fee of $1 per tree. Please remove tree stands, ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree toppers before recycling.

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Recycling Christmas Trees/File photoDoes your post-Christmas cleanup include taking down the trees in a few days. Here is what to do if you receive trash pickup from Fairfax County:

If you receive curbside pickup of trash and recycling, you can recycle your live Christmas tree (less than 8 feet) on your normal collection date. The cost is included as part of your regular, paid collection service, says the Fairfax County Government.

For larger trees, contact your collector for recycling instructions.

Christmas trees may also be recycled during the first two weeks in January at either the I-66 Transfer Station or the I-95 Landfill Complex. There is a small processing fee of $2 per tree.

Please remove tree stands, ornaments, tinsel, lights and tree toppers before recycling.

Many Reston homes and clusters are on private trash removal contracts. Check with your trash company for their recycling instructions.

Read more tree recycling tips on MotherEarthNews.com.

Photo courtesy of Mother Earth News

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