City of Asheville offers guidance for Christmas tree, lights disposal

Christmas tree disposal


Whether you keep your tree up through the new year or take it down the day after Christmas, there is still the question of how to dispose of it properly.

Christmas trees will be collected by the City of Asheville according to the routine brush collection schedule. Residents are asked to remove lights, tinsel, ornaments and stands prior to placing the trees to the curb for collection.

Residents can drop off Christmas trees for recycling at the following locations:

  • Buncombe County Landfill (81 Panther Branch Road) – free during January
  • Private yard waste facilities

Residents wishing to dispose of artificial Christmas trees must call 828-251-1122 to request collection.


The artificial vs. real tree eco debate

You can’t beat an artificial tree for convenience. But…. it comes at an ecological cost.

According to, artificial trees are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, meaning they will sit in a landfill for centuries after disposal. An artificial tree will last on average five to seven years, meaning you’ll eventually have to dispose of it, and many secondhand stores will not accept them. 

There’s also no guarantee the LED lights will last the whole time you own it, and they can’t be removed and replaced like with a real tree.


Conversely, “real” live Christmas trees are recycled into mulch once they are collected at the curb by most municipalities. Though, yes, you are cutting down a tree. Another option is to buy a potted one and plant it later.


More tips

  • Artificial trees in good condition can be donated to local thrift stores and reuse shops.
  • Christmas lights can be recycled at a local scrap metal recycler like Biltmore Iron & Metal, 1 Meadow Road.
  • Residents can find out more about these “hard-to-recycle” items and more using the City’s Waste Wizard at
  • Asheville GreenWorks will hold its first Hard-To-Recycle collection of 2022 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 15  on the A-B Tech campus, in the parking lot across from Fernihurst Mansion. Details here.