3 easy steps to recycling your Christmas tree in Allegheny County

And don’t miss this super awesome video of Christmas trees being turned into mulch!

Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

Updated, 5:17 p.m. Jan. 11

Pretty soon, it will all be over. (Abrupt, but true.)

While your Christmas tree looks awesome now, it will soon be time to get rid of it. So why not re-gift it?

Both Pittsburgh and Allegheny County try to keep your tree off of the curb and out of the landfill. Recycling your tree through their programs means it can reused as mulch for county parks and other areas in and around Pittsburgh.  Bonus: it’s free! 

Here’s how:

Step One: Decide how much longer you want to celebrate.

Getting rid of your tree the day after Christmas may seem a little Scrooge-like (unless you’ve had it up since before Thanksgiving), but waiting until late January may be just a little too long. No matter which you choose, recycling is available.

Christmas tree recycling for the county starts Monday and runs through Jan. 16. In the city, recycling starts Tues., Dec. 27 and runs until the end of January.

Step Two: Pack away your ornaments and lights.

Remove everything — that includes ornaments, lights and tinsel and garland. Even if you don’t want to keep those decorations, they wouldn’t make good mulch.

The city also notes you can’t ditch plastic bags or netting or tree stands with your tree.

Step Three: Pick a spot, and donate.

You got it to your house or apartment somehow, right? Do that in reverse to get it in the car, then drive your tree to one of your 13 options for recycling.

In Pittsburgh:

  • Central: 3001 Railroad St. (Strip District); 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday
  • East End: 6814 Hamilton Ave. (Homewood West); 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday
  • South: 40 Melanchton St. (Hazelwood); 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • West End: 1330 Hassler St. (Elliott); 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday

In Allegheny County:

Hours for all locations are dawn to dusk, regular park hours.

  • Boyce Park: 790 Center Rd. (Plum); parking lot by the wave pool
  • Deer Lakes Park: 1090 Bailey Run Rd. (Tarentum); parking lot by Veterans 2 Shelter
  • Harrison Hills Park: 5200 Freeport Rd. (Natrona Heights); parking lot at the intersection of Chipmunk & Cottontail drives
  • Hartwood Acres Park: 200 Hartwood Acres (Hampton Township); parking lot at the mansion
  • North Park: S. Ridge Drive (Allison Park); parking lot at the pool
  • Round Hill Park: 651 Round Hill Rd. (Elizabeth); parking lot past spray park, between Meadow and Alfalfa Shelters
  • Settlers Cabin Park: 225 Greer Rd., (Collier/North Fayette/Robinson); parking lot by the wave pool
  • South Park: Brownsville Road and Corrigan Drive (South Park); parking lot at the wave pool
  • White Oak Park: 3 Muse Lane (White Oak); parking lot by the Poplar 1 Shelter

Bonus! There’s mulch

Allegheny County mulches (aka recycles) hundreds of trees per year. During the 2015-2016 season, “more than 2,300 trees were received and recycled at all nine parks with the largest number being dropped off at North Park,” Allegheny County’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Evanto, wrote in an email to The Incline.

That mulch is used throughout the county park system and, last year, the program yielded between 125 and 175 cubic yards of mulch.

“The recycling effort benefits all taxpayers by reducing the amount of mulch that we have to purchase,” Evanto said.

In this video, county public works employees mulched Christmas trees at North Park on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.