What should I do with my Christmas tree?

Can I just put my Christmas tree out with the rubbish bins – and if not, what should I do with it?

5 January 2018
By Oliver Rowland

No – you should not just leave the tree out in the street or with the bins (even though many people do), in fact this is theoretically punishable by a €150 fine. Also, if you do it will probably be collected eventually but may end up incinerated or in landfill as opposed to being recycled if you dispose of it more responsibly.

You may wish to call your mairie for advice or check out its website – towns often offer special measures for trees during January. Some of them will arrange to pick them up, some arrange specific collection points such as in a public garden or near to recycling bins, and some offer specific days and times when local people can put the tree out on the street.

Otherwise usually the standard advice is to take it to a local déchetterie (tip) and put it in the déchets verts (green waste) container for recycling as compost or wood chips. If you do not know your nearest tip you should be able to find the information on the website of your mairie.

Charity Handicap International sells a biodegradable sac à sapin, available in supermarkets and DIY shops and on the internet, designed for putting your tree in to take it to the tip.

Some shops offer to take back trees they have sold and may even give you a voucher in return, however you would need to have retained the receipt as proof you bought it there.

In Alsace some communes make a celebration of getting rid of the tree by organising a big bonfire of them in the town square where local associations sell tarts, cakes and mulled wine.

If you live in the countryside one more unusual option is to take it to a goat farmer, as goats love to eat Christmas trees!

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