Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Christmas Trees Get New Life as Compost

City of Provo
Christmas-tree recycling turns live trees into compost.

Christmas trees have brightened the holidays throughout the Salt Lake Valley for weeks. Soon they can repurposed by being recycled.

The Christmas trees Salt Lake Valley residents threw away last year became part of a compost heap that weighed around 75 tons.

Debbie Lyons is sustainability program manager for Salt Lake City. She says people take household waste like this very seriously.

“It’s a pretty popular topic,” Lyons says. “A lot of people care about what’s going on with their waste and what they discard.”

The National Christmas Tree Association says recycled trees have many uses besides compost. In Vermont they produce electricity. In Oregon, they make salmon habitat. In Louisiana, they help rebuild wetlands.

Pam Roberts, executive director for the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District, says curbside tree recycling is also a popular service outside Salt Lake City, in the county.

“If you have a live Christmas tree, please just make sure there’s no lights or tinsel or ornaments on it,” says Roberts. “Put it out at your curbside. We’ll come get it the same day that we come get your normal trash and recycling.

Pickups in much of the county begin Monday and continue through January.

Salt Lake City customers can use their brown barrels, the ones for green waste. But, if the trees don’t fit, they will be removed from curbside.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.