Recycling your Christmas tree in Kansas City

Give your “Night of the Living Dead” tree new life.

A bug's eye view of the Union Station Christmas tree, framed to include the ceiling and lit chandelier. Tree lighting ceremonies kansas city.

Needing to get rid of your tree can make it feel 40 feet fall.

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Sure, the holidays are all fun and games — but if you celebrate Christmas, you know that sooner or later you have to deal with that “Night of the Living Dead” tree in the corner. That doesn’t mean it’s dumpster-bound. Instead, we have some tips on how to put an old tree to good use.

Drop-off recycling

Maybe you just can’t wait for curbside pickup. Drop the tree off yourself at yard waste drop-offs and organic recycling centers across the metro.

In KCMO, drop off your tree for $5 with proof of residency (free on Saturdays), from Saturday, Jan. 6-Saturday, Jan.13, at Missouri Organic Recycling:

  • 11660 N. Main St.
  • 1815 N. Chouteau Tfwy.
  • 10301 Raytown Rd.

Residents in any county can drop off their trees for free in Johnson County through Wednesday, Jan. 31 at:

  • The Theatre in the Park
  • Heritage Park
  • Kill Creek Park
  • Big Bull Creek Park

Be sure to properly secure the tree to your car if you opt for this route. Find additional, city-specific resources and curbside pickups via Mid-America Regional Council’s extensive list.

Bonus: Drop off lights, gift boxes, and paper at city recycling centers. The Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium is also accepting unused, old, or broken holiday lights at its Guest Relations desk during operating hours through Sunday, Jan. 7.

Natural feeders

Give back to Mother Nature by making a natural bird feeder. Get creative with edible ornaments (think: orange-apple garlands and peanut butter pine cones), then set the tree out for birds to eat + take shelter. If your property includes a pond or lake, you can toss in the tree to make a natural reef, giving local fish a home.

Make your own mulch

When you take a tree to a recycling center, they turn it into mulch anyway. So, why not use it for your own yard + spring garden? Ideally, you could shred the tree (for example, Home Depot has mulchers for rent), but usually by the time the holidays are over, the needles will already be falling off. You can spread them in garden beds or over the lawn.