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How to recycle your Christmas tree and decorations after the holidays

  • Author: Madeline McGee
  • Updated: December 25, 2018
  • Published December 25, 2018

Eric Hueners drops off a tree for recycling at the Jewel Lake Carrs store in Anchorage on Jan. 7, 2014. (Loren Holmes / ADN archive)

Have Christmas decorations that will need to be offloaded soon? Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling is offering some tips on how to keep your trees, gift wrapping and broken lights from ending up in a landfill.

Real trees

Carrs Safeway will offer free Christmas tree recycling between Dec. 28 and Jan. 15 at all of its locations in Anchorage, Eagle River and Palmer. The stores will accept real trees that are free of decorations, plastic bags or tree stands. Wreaths cannot be recycled because they contain wires. Signs and barriers in the stores' parking lots will mark off designated drop-off areas.

Mary Fisher of Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling said the trees will be recycled into wood chips and used for trail cover, erosion control and fragrant mulch for landscaping.

Anchorage Boy Scout Troop 268 will also pick up trees in Anchorage and Eagle River for an optional fee, she said. The trees will be used for scouting activities, Fisher said. Call 907-868-8899 or email to arrange pick-up. Eagle River pick-up is only available Saturday.

Artificial trees

Because artificial trees are not recyclable, Fisher encourages those who want to dispose of trees in good condition to drop them off at a reuse store like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Bishop’s Attic or Value Village. Damaged trees must be thrown away in a landfill like other waste products, she said.


The WestRock Anchorage Recycling Center at 6161 Rosewood St. will have a “Christmas light” box available for people who want to dispose of string lights and bulbs. Fisher said the box will remain out during the holiday season, and after that, recyclers can dispose of their Christmas lights in the recycling center’s “Wires” bin. Total Reclaim, an electronics recycling center in the Huffman Business Park, will also accept string lights, she said.

Paper goods

Gift boxes, bags, wrapping paper and cards can be recycled with mixed paper in standard curbside carts. Recyclers can also take paper goods to the Anchorage Regional Landfill, the Matanuska-Susitna Central Landfill or the Anchorage or Valley recycling centers. Gift bags should have cloth handles removed.

Fisher said paper goods that have foil or glitter cannot be recycled and should instead be saved for future holidays. Ribbons, which are difficult to recycle because they are made from a variety of different materials, should also be reused, she said.

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