Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection Accepting Holiday Trees for Recycling

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging residents to put live-cut Christmas trees curbside for recycling and give the trees a second life after the holidays.
Cut Christmas trees are accepted year-round for residents of single-family homes and townhomes who receive Montgomery County-provided weekly curbside recycling collection service. Trees must be free of lights and decorations.

Wreaths, roping and other decorations made with live branches and needles are accepted for recycling if they are separated from any wire and metal used to bind them. They must be free from decorations.
Residents should place their trees or wreaths curbside by 7 a.m. on their regularly scheduled recycling day.

“Increasing sustainable practices and habits in our daily life is a great New Year’s resolution,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Recycling Christmas trees and wreaths is much better for environment than simply throwing them away. I appreciate our Department of Environmental Protection for offering this service to our residents and I encourage everyone discarding live trees and wreaths to recycle them.”

Collected trees are taken to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, where they are shredded and chipped for mulch. The facility is located at 16105 Frederick Rd. in Derwood. Residents also can take their trees to the Transfer Station and drop them off for recycling. Live trees with root balls, or that have their roots intact, cannot be collected as yard trim.

Residents who live in apartments and condominiums should check with their property manager or representative for specific live-cut Christmas tree recycling instructions. Businesses also can recycle live-cut Christmas trees.

DEP suggests residents consider recycling branches and needles at home by placing them under trees and shrubs as a temporary winter mulch. They also can be chopped up and added to a compost pile.

Artificial trees cannot be recycled, but if residents have an artificial tree that is in usable condition and they longer want, they can consider offering it for reuse on a neighborhood list serve, local Freecycle group or similar network. Otherwise, request a bulk trash pickup for an artificial tree. Residents with County-provided trash service should schedule a collection online or by calling 311. Residents with privately provided trash service should check with their collection company for instructions.

For more information about Christmas tree recycling collection, visit the DEP website at


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