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How to get rid of your Christmas tree in Seattle

Where to bring—or leave—your tree when you’re done with it

A Christmas tree on top of a car J A Uppendahl/Shutterstock

There are still 10 days left in Christmas, but the holiday season is winding down—and so is the usefulness of the noble Christmas tree. But trees are incredibly cumbersome, especially when added up with all the trees from surrounding households, and most of them don’t fit in a compost bin. Fortunately, both Seattle and King County have procedures in place for this sort of thing.

No matter how you dispose of your tree, remember to strip it of all decorations first so all you’re getting rid of is the tree, with no pesky, non-compostable tinsel or ornaments in the way.

In the Seattle city limits, you can place your tree—again, stripped of any ornaments or decoration—next to the food and yard waste bin on pickup day. (You can look up your collection day if you don’t know it here.) Trees left by the bin need to be cut into sections no more than 4 feet long and bundled in sisal string or twine; compostability is key here. Even if you’re doing an extended Christmas, you have plenty of time to do this; the city will pick up trees disposed of this way until January 31 at no extra charge.

The city is also accepting trees at city dumps—that’s the south transfer station in South Park or the north transfer station in Wallingford—for free until January 31. Again, they need to be decoration-free, but there’s no need to bundle or cut into four-foot sections this way. Trees dropped off at the transfer station can’t be more than eight feet tall and trunks can’t be more than four inches in diameter. Up to three trees can come in one car.

Don’t live in the city limits? King County waste disposal facilities in Bow Lake, Cedar Falls, Enumclaw, Factoria, Shoreline, and Vashon accept trees as yard waste, but it’ll cost you the same as during less festive seasons: $75 per ton, with a minimum cost of $12. The county has also published a list of private wood recyclers and composters in the city, charging anywhere from $1 to at least $20 per tree.

The City of Auburn is accepting trees and wreaths for curbside pickup in no longer than four-foot sections from January 8 through January 12.