MISSOURI — Christmas has come and gone. All the presents are unwrapped and the leftovers are in the fridge That means the time is fast approaching to do what many dread most about the holiday season – take down all the festive decorations. For some, that means getting rid of a freshly-cut live tree.

KMZU’s Brian Lock was able to chat with Amy Poos, Director of Public Relations with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, about how to do away with live Christmas trees in an environmentally sustainable way.

Click below to hear their conversation, which aired Wednesday on KMZU.


The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is reminding people to pay close attention to the trees they recycle – and make sure they don’t have any straggling decorations before they are recycled.

“One of the most important things, before you even think about recycling your tree, you need to make sure all the ornaments, lights and tinsel you use on your tree have been taken off your tree,” Poos said. “A lot of those can be reused for next year and if they were to be put into nature they actually contaminate or pollute and can really interfere with wildlife.”

After Christmas is done and dusted, getting rid of a fresh tree can be a hassle, but there are options to dispose of your tree in a way that benefits the environment.

“If you have accessibility to a mulcher, we suggest mulching your holiday tree, and that way you can then use that for landscaping,” Poos suggested. “People can contact their city’s public works department and see if there is any drop-off they can use for their holiday tree to get mulched.”

Poos also offered an idea to turn your used Christmas tree into an outdoor wildlife sanctuary.

“You can make a home for wildlife outside by taking your tree and securing it, then covering it with lots of yummy goodies for small animals and birds for them to snack on when food is scarce,” Poos added.

To find out more about environmentally sustainable holiday tree disposal, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.