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Smart and easy ways to recycle or reuse real Christmas trees, wreaths, greenery

Oregon is the nation’s largest producer of Christmas trees, responsible for about a third of the U.S. harvest, according to the latest report from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

After the holidays, natural trees, wreaths and other greenery can be given a second life benefiting the environment if they are properly recycled. Scouts and other groups are ready to help.

Volunteers from Trout Unlimited’s Tualatin Valley and Clackamas River Chapters are reusing trees, placing them in Oregon wetlands to provide habitat for juvenile salmon and other wildlife.

The non-profit group is restarting its Christmas tree collection program for coho this year after it canceled it last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On January 8 and 15, you can drop off your unadorned Christmas tree from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters (10910 NE Halsey St. in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Portland) and the old Bolton Fire Hall ( 6000 Failing St. in West Linn) next to the Royal Treatment Fly Fishing.

The cost is $ 10 per tree to cover transportation and other expenses. “To protect the quality of the water, we regret not being able to accept trees with flocking or garlands”, specify the organizers.

Trees that will be used as wood chips, compost or wildlife habitat must be removed from non-organic matter.

Preparation requirements vary among collection groups, but for the most part all branches should be cleared of ornaments, lights, garlands, wires, nails, spikes, brackets, plastic and other materials. added.

For the wreaths, also remove the frames and any other non-vegetal product. Check with the recycler for their policy regarding promotional items and other green items. Some do not accept flocked trees.

Holiday greens can be left in bins or on the sidewalk for garbage haulers to pick up. Or Boy Scouts, wearing masks and keeping their distance at drop sites, were trained to safely accept Christmas trees and wreaths in their efforts to improve the environment and raise funds.

Here are some Christmas tree and greenery collection options:

Garbage collection services will accept trees and other natural holiday decorations as yard debris if the greenery fits inside the bin or on the sidewalk for an additional charge.

Garbage collection services will accept trees and other natural holiday decorations as yard debris if the greenery fits into the bin and is picked up on the regular pickup day.

Typically, a tree is considered ordinary garden debris if it fits into the cart with the lid closed. If it doesn’t fit, cut the tree into pieces and add it to the basket over time.

A tree less than six feet long can be placed next to the cart on the sidewalk while longer trees need to be cut; anyway, there may be extra charge for extra waste.

Beaverton will not charge for a cut or entire tree that fits the cart; otherwise, if it’s placed on the sidewalk, it’s $ 3.70 for additional yard debris.

Clackamas County does not charge for picking up a tree that has been cut into pieces and placed in a garden debris cart with the lid closed. A large tree can be cut down and the debris picked up over several weeks.

Or cut a tree 6 feet tall or less in half and place it next to the yard debris cart. There may be a nominal charge for this option (call your household garbage company).

Trees flocked with fake snow are only accepted as trash and may incur additional charges (call your trash company). Wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbons and bows also go in the trash as well as greeting cards and gift bags with glitter, plastic or metallic foil.

In Gresham, whole natural trees less than six feet in length that are not in the garden debris cart will be assessed an additional $ 3.91.

Trees over six feet should be cut in half and any half that is not in the cart will incur an additional charge. Wrap the flocked trees, which will be collected for a $ 5.50 garbage fee. If you are unable to cut your tree, contact your carrier for options.

Portland residents can fill their curbside compost cart with greenery as long as the lid can close and the material can freely fall from the cart into the truck when it is tipped.

There is an additional charge of $ 5.10 to take out each entire tree left curbside. Trees over six feet must be cut in half (a single fee of $ 5.10 will be charged). For flocked trees, contact your carrier.

See directions for Canby, Fairview, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Troutdale, Tualatin and other towns here and Washington County towns here.

Residents of apartments or condominiums with centralized transportation services can learn from the property manager or board of directors if a vacation tree picking service or event has been arranged.

Otherwise, visit Metro’s Find-A-Recycler to enter an address to find the nearest yard debris recycling facility or seasonal tree recycling event.

If you are served by Metro, submit a question, call 503-234-3000 or contact your waste hauler for more information.

If you don’t want to use the curbside service or take your tree to a yard debris disposal facility, Boy Scout Troops will recycle your entire tree for a donation.

The Sunnyside Environmental School in Southeast Portland has canceled its annual Christmas tree recycling fundraiser due to COVID-19, but most BSA Scout groups that usually recycle offer a contactless experience for the public, said Jennifer Bell, who volunteers with Tigard Troop 423 and Troop 218.

Tigard Troop 423 and Troop 218 will be picking up trees in the aisles for a donation of $ 12 in zip codes 97223 and 97224 on January 1, 2, 8 and 9. Call 503-972-3423 or go to to make arrangements (credit cards are accepted).

Wood chips from the trees will be used in Cook Park thanks to a partnership with the City of Tigard.

Here are other BSA Scout troops with recycling programs:

Troop 618 and Troop 5618 will accept unflocked trees for a donation of $ 10 or more and wreaths (donation of $ 5) at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 12405 SW Butner Road, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday January 2. Saturday January 8 and Sunday January 9.

This event will fund most of the operating expenses of the troops for the year, according to the troops website. For more information: [email protected] or 503-567-9194.

Troop 728 will be accepting trees from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday January 1 and Sunday January 2, as well as Saturday January 8 and Sunday January 9 at the parking lot used by Terra Linda Park and Terra Linda Elementary School, 1998 NW 143rd Ave. in Portland’s Cedar Mill neighborhood. The suggested donation is $ 10 for trees, wreaths and other greenery. No flocked tree will be accepted. For more information, send an email to [email protected]

The 870 and 5870 Troops Curbside Christmas Tree Recycling Service is non-contact and follows all appropriate masking and social distancing protocols. The pickup coverage area is between Southwest Farmington Road, Southwest Murray Boulevard, Southwest 198th Avenue, and Southwest Old Scholls Ferry Road.

Pick-ups begin at 9 a.m. on January 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16. Book a pickup in advance and if you wish, place a donation in an envelope with “870” written on it, put the envelope in a waterproof bag and secure it to the tree.

Troop 230 will provide an in-car recycling service at Yakima Headquarters, 4101 Kruse Way, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday January 8 and Sunday January 9. The suggested donation is $ 10 per tree and $ 8 per wreath. . “This is Troop 230’s biggest fundraiser,” organizers said.

Girl Scout Troop 45004 will recycle trees and wreaths from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 1 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 2, 8 and 9 at the upper parking lot of George Rogers Park, 611 S State of St.

The suggested donation is $ 10 to $ 15. To schedule a door-to-door pickup in Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, or West Linn, complete the or email your questions to [email protected]

Troop 221 will provide a drive-through recycling service for Christmas trees and wreaths between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday January 1 and Sunday January 2 at the Mountain Park Church Overflow Parking Lot at Southwest Jefferson Avenue and Southwest McNary Promenade .

The suggested donation is $ 12 per tree and $ 10 per wreath. To schedule a $ 15 door-to-door pickup from an unflocked tree in zip code 97219, 97035, or 97034, visit The trees will be chipped and returned to nature, organizers said.

Troop 22 will be hosting a tree and winter recycling food drive starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 935 NE 33rd Ave. in the district of Kerns.

Troop 24 will be accepting drop trees from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday January 2 at 3900 SE Belmont St. in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

Troops 419 and 5419 will be picking up trees in the aisles for a $ 12 donation starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday January 2, as well as January 8, 9 and 15, in the coverage area, north of Southwest Hart Road, south to ‘to Hwy 99W, east to Hwy 217 and west to Roy Rogers Road. Reservations must be made in advance at

Metro’s waste reduction experts remind us to save bows, containers, packing peanuts and wrapping paper for reuse next year. This year’s greeting cards can be cut to make gift tags for next year. Recycle paper, boxes and cards that you can’t reuse, as well as holiday catalogs and magazines.

Want to get rid of electronics, toys, home furnishings, clothing or accessories? If they’re still in good working order, consider donating them to charity.

Find a recycler to pack peanuts into piles by searching the Metro directory or calling 503-234-3000.

Organic Gardening offers these suggestions for Christmas trees free of invasive pests:

Make mulch: Cut off the branches and place them on the ground to protect the plants.

Protect the birds: Move the tree to its stand outside for the winter, where it can provide food and shelter for wild birds. Hang a bird feeder or bags of tallow.

Fish habitat: With the owner’s permission, poke your tree into a deep pond so that it becomes a habitat for fish and aquatic insects. In shallow wetlands, trees can reduce sand and soil erosion.

Turn it into a trellis: In the spring, install the tree in your garden as a trellis for peas or beans.

Plant it for next Christmas: If you bought a living tree, you will be able to let it grow until next year. If you have outdoor space, consider replanting your tree if its roots are intact.

– Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

[email protected] | @janeteastman


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