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Where to Recycle Christmas Trees and Lights in Houston

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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Houston Zoo's recycling bin

The Houston Zoo promotes Christmas light recycling as a way to save landfill space, meaning more space for wildlife. Pictured is their recycling bin, located just inside the main entrance; guests don’t have to purchase a Zoo ticket to drop off string lights. The Zoo will accept Christmas lights through Jan. 8, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Houston Zoo)

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday! As we close out 2022, you might be wondering what to do with all of the holiday stuff. If you’ve got a live tree or holiday lights that won’t survive a year-long hibernation, here are local recycling programs to consider: 

City of Houston’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program and Annual Tree Mulching Event 
Houston's Solid Waste Management Department has opened 24 residential Christmas tree drop-off recycling locations throughout the city, open through Tues., Jan. 31. To recycle a live Christmas tree, residents must remove all lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, stands, and other non-organic decorative materials. Trees that are flocked, artificial, or painted will not be recycled. Additionally, recycling for live trees is available through the city’s yard waste curbside collection program. Recycling trees will result in rich mulch that will be available in bags or bulk directly from Living Earth and other local area retailers. The 32nd Annual Christmas Tree Mulching Event will take place Fri., Jan. 6, 11:30 a.m. at City Hall Reflection Pool. Find more information and a list of Christmas tree recycling locations here.  

City of Bellaire’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program 
The Christmas Tree Recycling Program is available to residents through Jan. 13, 2023. During this time, trees may be dropped off at the designated collection area located at the southeast corner of Baldwin Avenue and Edith Street. Place your tree in the parking lot near the tree recycling sign. Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, tree stands, and lights before you recycle. Flocked trees will not be recycled.

Houston Zoo’s Holiday Lights Recycle Bin  
The Houston Zoo is again offering the opportunity to save wildlife by recycling unwanted holiday string lights. If you have burned-out or broken lights, drop them off in the collection bin outside of the Zoo’s main entrance. The bin is available now through the end of the Zoo Lights season, Jan. 8, 2023. The Zoo collects holiday string lights only (no flood lights, extension cords, light hooks, or other holiday decorations). Since the beginning of the program in 2016, the Zoo has recycled more than 26,400 pounds of holiday lights. 

Editor’s note: Is “going green” on your list of 2023 New Year’s resolutions? Find ideas for eco-friendly resolutions here

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