The Second Life of Christmas Trees

Give back while getting rid of your Christmas tree by participating in one of several tree recycling programs this winter.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

Don’t drag your tree to the curb after the holidays. Instead, take it to a compost center so it can have a second life.

One of life’s universal facts is that winter starts getting dreary once the holidays are over (this may or may not have something to do with the decreasing availability of eggnog). Some people cling to the holiday season by keeping their Christmas trees fully decked out until Valentine’s Day, while others prefer to pack up their ornaments and stockings practically as soon as there are no more presents to open under the tree. No matter what your preference is, getting rid of your Christmas tree can be a big hassle. But luckily, several places around 417-land are easing that burden by offering convenient Christmas tree recycling programs. 

Getting rid of your Christmas tree can be a big hassle, but luckily, several places around 417-land are easing that burden. 

Both Wickman’s Garden Village and Springfield’s Yardwaste Recycling Center turn the Christmas trees they collect to mulch. Starting December 25 through mid-February, Wickman’s (1345 S. Fort Ave., Springfield; 417-862-3707; accepts trees as well as $5 suggested donations for The Kitchen Inc. All non-flocked trees become mulch, which customers can haul away themselves for free. What doesn’t get taken is used in Wickman’s tree beds.

The Yardwaste Recycling Center (3620 S. Hutchinson Road, Brookline; 417-864-1904; mulches trees throughout the year, but in January, the city waives its usual fee for brush, including Christmas trees. The resulting mulch is available for sale, donated to organizations or used within city projects.

Instead of mulching trees, Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and Bass Pro Shops collect trees to be used in conservation projects. The Fish Hatchery (483 Hatchery Rd., Branson; 417-334-4865 ext. 0; accepts trees 24 hours a day between December 26 and mid-January, and there’s no cost or limit to the number of trees you bring. The trees are used for habitat improvement projects along Lake Taneycomo.

Since 1986, Bass Pro Shops has recycled more than 270,000 Christmas trees. For its 30th year of the program, the Springfield store (1935 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield; 417-887-7334; is once again teaming up with the Boy Scouts of America Ozark Trails Council to collect trees, which are then used in various conservation projects. Help the cause by bringing your tree to the northwest corner of the Bass Pro Shops parking lot (facing Sunshine) from noon to 6 p.m. between December 26 and January 1. Dropping your tree is free, but Bass Pro Shops does suggest a $2 donation per tree with all proceeds benefiting the Boy Scouts.

No matter where you decide to recycle your tree, a good rule of thumb is to remove all ornaments, lights, bases and other decorations as well as any plastic bags or containers used to transport your tree.

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