Residents have few options for disposing of used Christmas trees |

Residents have few options for disposing of used Christmas trees

Amy Hamilton

Soon the festive decorations that marked the holiday season will be coming down and returning to their hiding places.

But what to do with the live Christmas tree that so beautifully adorned the living room?

Craig residents can dispose of Christmas trees by leaving them next to their garbage cans, said Randy Call, the director of Craig’s Road and Bridge and Sanitation Department. City sanitation workers will pick up the trees at no charge, but that may be outside of normal trash pick up days, he said.

The trees will be hauled to the landfill.

Call estimated the city disposed more than 1,500 Christmas trees last year.

“I think the trees will start showing up today,” he said on Monday. “But the majority of people begin to take theirs down after New Year’s.”

Call said the city experimented with mulching Christmas trees one year but the effort was cost-prohibitive.

“We tried that but it cost so much for nothing,” he said.

Robin Lambert has already put her Christmas tree out by the curb. She decided to get the job done early to make time for New Year’s activities. And she didn’t want to burn the pine tree in the wood stove to escape creosote build-up.

“I didn’t know what else to do with it except put it out with the trash,” she said. “I know a lot of people put them in the fireplace but I didn’t feel comfortable with that.”

For those who plan to keep trees up through the new year, fire-prevention experts suggest keeping trees watered.

“Periodically check your tree for freshness by grabbing the branches. If the needles fall off in your hand, your tree is dry and should be disposed of soon,” stated advice from an Internet fire safety tip sheet.

Some experts agree it’s not safe to burn trees in the fireplace.

“When it’s time to dispose of your tree, never burn it in a fireplace,” said officials from the King County Fire District. “The combination of oil, pitch and dry branches can ignite within seconds, sending sparks and flames into the room.”

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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