Tampa, FL

Recycle Tampa Christmas Trees for Free: Donate Them to Goats, Feed Them to Backyard Animals, or Turn them Into Mulch

L. Cane

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Goats love to eat recycled Christmas treesMarco Blažević, Unsplash

It's the time of the year when Christmas is sadly over. You may have removed the stockings from your chimney, and your live Christmas tree is starting to look a little dry and sad. So you need to decide how to dispose of it. Thankfully, live Christmas trees are biodegradable.

The Best-Known Option: Mulch:

Most people realize that they can recycle their tree through Hillsborough County Solid Waste for free. And this is an eco-friendly option because the trees are used to make mulch.

You'll need to put the tree curbside on your regular pick up day, but there are some caveats, like:

  • You must remove all lights, decorations, and tinsel.
  • You must cut the tree into smaller sections so that it is no longer than four feet long and no wider than six inches wide.

If you are not able to do this by your regular pick up day, you can still drop your tree off at your closest yard waste processing facility (with locations on Faulkenburg Road, Linebaugh Road, and Highway 41.)

But there are other, unique options that you may not know about.

Here are a few fun, animal-friendly options:

A Unique Tampa Option: Donation to Goats (Technically Not Tom Brady:)

The Grady (not Brady) Goat Foundation in Thonotosassa is happy to take Christmas trees that are free from pesticides, tinsel, or items that might harm the goats, who see the trees as a delicious, but healthy snack. You can contact the Foundation through their website to arrange drop-off.

According to Timber Creek Farm, recycled Christmas trees in moderation contain beneficial vitamin C and antioxidants, and act as a natural dewormer for goats and other animals.

A Practical Option: Treat Backyard / Pond Animals Close to Home: Goats aren't the only animals that like to munch on Christmas trees. Other animals which find the trees tasty include elephants, kangaroos, pigs, and lions.

Those of us who don't have access to those types of animals aren't completely out of luck.

If you live on a pond, you can weigh down some of the branches in a coffee tin so that parts of the tree are under the water. The submerged part of the tree can provide protection or food for the pond's fish. And the part of the tree sticking out of the water offers a place for birds to perch.

Speaking of birds, if your Homeowner's Association will allow it, you can turn the tree into a natural bird feeder and shelter.

Simply place popcorn, orange slices, cereal, or pinecones covered in peanut butter onto the tree to attract and feed birds.

You could even string the items to make the tree look like an outdoor, rustic decorative tree.

What about you? How will you recycle your Christmas tree this year?

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