Where to recycle your Christmas tree in Fort Collins

RecyclingMonster: It may be hard to believe, but Christmas is almost here. That means soon it will be time to pack up those ornaments, unstring those lights and take down your Christmas tree. 

If you opted for a live tree this year, you can recycle it for free Thursday through Jan. 20 at several locations throughout Fort Collins and Wellington. 

Don't forget to take off all lights, wire, hooks, ornaments, tinsel and fake snow before loading it up and taking it to one of the following city of Fort Collins drop-off locations: 

  • Edora Park, 1420 E. Stuart St. (tennis court parking lot)
  • Rolland Moore Park, 2201 S. Shields St. (southeast corner of parking lot)
  • City Streets Facility, 625 Ninth St. (southwest corner of Vine and Lemay)
  • Fossil Creek Park, 5821 S. Lemay Ave. (enter on Lemay Ave.)
  • Larimer County Landfill, 5887 S. Taft Hill Road
  • Wellington Recycling Drop-off (Town Garage, corner of 6th and Grant)

Recycled trees will be chipped into mulch for city of Fort Collins landscaping projects and be made available to the public year-round — and free of charge — at Timberline Recycling Center, 1903 S. Timberline Road, and Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave. 

Recycle it later, for a price

Wanting to keep your tree around longer than Jan. 20? You can still recycle it at the Timberline Recycling Center and other drop-off locations, but you'll have to pay a fee. 

What about my fake tree?

If you opted for an artificial tree but don't want or need it anymore, you can donate it to a local thrift store as long as it's in good condition.

What do I do with old holiday lights?

You can't put holiday lights in your curbside recycling bin, but you can recycle them with scrap metal, even if the bulbs are still attached.

Tie or bundle up strands and take them to one of the below locations (which are in Fort Collins unless otherwise noted).

Note: This list was compiled by city of Fort Collins, which recommends you call a location to verify that lights are currently being accepted as well as drop-off details. 

  • Ace Hardware, 1001 E. Harmony Road, 970-223-9273 (seasonal collection)
  • Aragon Iron & Metal, 516 N. U.S. Highway 287, 970-484-2577
  • Timberline Recycling Center's Hard to Recycle Materials Yard, 1903 S. Timberline Road, 970-221-6600 ($5 entry fee)
  • Colorado Iron & Metal, 903 E. Buckingham St., 970-482-7707
  • Downtown Ace Hardware, 215 S. College Ave., (970) 224-4437
  • Eco-Cycle CHaRM, 6400 Araphoe Road, Boulder, 303-444-6634
  • Lowes Home Improvement, 4227 Corbett Drive, 970-232-7910 (seasonal collection)
  • RMB Recycling Center, 1475 N. College Ave., 970-484-5384

Reuse or recycle wrapping paper

Instead of putting all that wrapping and tissue paper in the trash, save it for next year or recycle it. 

Here's what you can recycle in your curbside bin or in containers 4 and 5 at Timberline Recycling Center: 

  • Non-metallic wrapping paper
  • Tissue paper

Here's what you can't recycle but should try and reuse:

  • Metallic wrapping paper
  • Ribbons
  • Bows
  • Glitter

Recycle cardboard boxes in your curbside bin or the cardboard bin at Timberline Recycling Center. It's illegal to put them in the trash in Fort Collins. 

How can I be more eco-friendly next year?

Here are some recommendations from city of Fort Collins, with some additions: 

  • Buy gifts with minimal packaging, those made from recycled materials or ones that are produced locally.
  • Consider buying "experience gifts," such as tickets to an event, movie or show or a membership to a museum or parks system, instead of packaged gifts.
  • Use LED holiday lights and turn them on at dusk and off at bedtime. You can set timers to do this for you. According to the city, leaving lights on all day "will quadruple energy costs and produce four times more pollution than necessary."
  • Limit food waste by planning meals ahead of time, only buying what you need and using your leftovers, whether that's sending them home with guests or using them to make new recipes. Here are some suggestions from local chef Linda Hoffman. 
  • Encourage others in your life to recycle by purchasing $5 entry certificates to Timberline Recycling Center's Hard-to-Recycle Materials Yard. Learn more at

Need more motivation?

Check out the below video produced by city of Fort Collins last year. Visit for more information.


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