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Getting Rid of Your Live Christmas Tree? How To Recycle or Trash It

Hillsborough County curbside pickup is allowed for live trees trimmed and cut as yard waste. Care to recycle? Whole trees devoid of decorations are accepted at one of three yard-waste processing facilities, including one nearby.

The build-up to Christmas inevitably leads to the 12 days of cleanup. Included in that mix of seasonal-aftermath chores for many Bloomingdale residents is the disposal of the live Christmas tree.

That majestic evergreen, coniferous tree that lives on in digital print becomes, devoid of its decorations, simple recyclable yard waste. As such it can be brought to the curb for pickup on regular collection service days for yard waste.

But first, you need to trim the tree.

This time around "trimming" does not mean "decorating" for the holidays. It means "cutting away" and "reducing in size."

Trees for pickup as yard waste must be absent all tinsel, ornaments, garland, popcorn strings and candy canes. No lights, either, not even the broken ones.

And the trees must be live; artificial trees cannot be recycled locally.

Hillsborough County officials said it is necessary, too, to cut the live trees into sections no longer than 4-feet long and 6-inches in diameter. 

Place trees curbside on your next waste-collection day.

Don't want to wait for collection day? Don't want to bring out the saw?

Do- it-yourselfers can bring discarded Christmas trees to the nearestHillsborough County yard-waste processing facility. Or, chop or grind your live Christmas tree and use as mulch around trees, shrubs and flower beds.

To recycle a live tree at a Hillsborough County yard-waste facility, you'll need to bring some form of identification and a copy of your property tax bill, which includes notification of the assessment for solid waste disposal. Customers who do not live in Hillsborough County can dispose of live trees as well, but will have to pay a tonnage fee.

The nearest disposal facility for Bloomingdale residents is the Falkenburg Road/Resource Recovery Facility at 350 Faulkenburg Road.

Hillsborough County also operates the Northwest Yard Waste Facility, at 8001 West Linebaugh Ave. (Call: 813-264-3816). Also, the South County Yard Waste Facility, at 13001 U.S. Highway 41, north of Big Bend Road. (Call: 813-671-7611.)

All three facilities are open Monday through Saturday, from 7:30am to 5:30pm., with the exception of holidays, such as Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

While it's easy to find Falkenburg Road, it's not so easy to spot the turn-off for the waste facility. Keep this in mind: coming from State Road 60, you'll be turning left on to the road that serves also as the entranceway to the Hillsborough County Animal Services Center, which is noticeable because of the metal sculptures in the shape of animals on the front yard. Also, in view in the background to the left is a huge smoke stack.

Rules to keep in mind before you bring your evergreens to the facility: the trees, again, must be devoid of all decorations. Trees can be full-sized, however. You'll be placing it in a pile of yard waste that in turn will be transformed into a pile of mulch.

Nice to know that the tree you doted on lives on for another purpose.

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For more information about recylcing live Christmas trees, contact:

  • Lynn Barber, Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM Agent, Hillsborough County and UF-IFAS Extension, at barberL@hillsboroughcounty.org. Call: 813-744-5519, ext. 54105.

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