Recycling your Christmas tree in Lexington

Plus, what to do with holiday lights and gift wrap.

Lexington's downtown Christmas tree

Lexington’s downtown Christmas tree | Photo by The LEXtoday

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Sure, the holidays are all fun and games — but if you celebrate Christmas, you know that sooner or later you have to deal with that “Night of the Living Dead” tree in the corner. That doesn’t mean it’s dumpster-bound. Instead, we have some tips on how to put an old tree to good use.

Curbside pickup

The City of Lexington and Fayette County will recycle your tree for you: all you have to do is bring it out to the curb starting Wednesday, Jan. 3. To make sure it gets properly recycled, you’ll need to remove the tinsel, garland, tree stand + ornaments before bringing it out.

Drop-off recycling

Maybe you just can’t wait for curbside pickup. Drop the tree off yourself at Hayley Pike Waste Management Facility, 4216 Hedger Ln. Be sure to properly secure the tree to your car if you opt for this route.

Building a new habitat

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife collects Christmas trees, with lights and ornaments removed, to be used in the construction of fish habitats across the Commonwealth.

Lexington’s tree drop-off location is located at Jacobson Park in the Paddle Craft Parking Lot, 4001 Athens-Boonesboro Rd. It will be open from Tuesday, Dec. 26 to Monday, Jan. 15.

a lake

State employees stage trees at boat ramps before beginning to build the underwater fish habitats. | Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Natural feeders

Give back to Mother Nature by making a natural bird feeder. Get creative with edible ornaments (think: orange-apple garlands and peanut butter pine cones), then set the tree out for birds to eat + take shelter. If your property includes a pond or lake, you can toss in the tree to make a natural reef, giving local fish a home.

Make your own mulch

When you take a tree to a recycling center they turn it into mulch anyway. So, why not use it for your own yard + spring garden? Ideally, you could shred the tree (for example, Home Depot has mulchers for rent), but usually, by the time the holidays are over, the needles will already be falling off. You can spread them in garden beds or over the lawn.