NEW YORK - JANUARY 2: New York Department of Parks and Recreation workers load Christmas trees into a mulch machine after a news conference promoting Christmas tree recycling January 2, 2003 in New York City. The recycling program dubbed Mulchfest 2003 encourages New Yorkers to bring their holiday trees to designated sites to be converted into wood chips to be used for mulch. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

When the holiday season is over, there may still be life left in your Christmas tree.

The live versus artificial question has been debated for decades, but no matter which your family chooses, experts say there are ways to make sustainable choices when it comes time to dispose of your tree.

“The research goes back and forth on the environmental impacts of both options,” explains Sustainability and Market Development Coordinator Ashley Krug. “Our general advice is that if you choose to have a live tree, buy it locally and recycle it when you’re done. If you choose an artificial tree, plan to reuse it for as many years as you can, then donate or recycle it.”

There are many options available in Springfield, Joplin and the Branson area that allow you to recycle or repurpose your tree while also giving back to the local community.


Springfield residents are reminded that live Christmas trees are not accepted at Missouri landfills; however, several options are available for recycling this year’s trees. Used trees can be repurposed to support new life as mulch for your spring garden and even as habitat for area fish and wildlife. Live trees can be disposed at the following locations:

The City of Springfield Yardwaste Recycling Center (3790 S. Farm Road 119, Brookline) will accept residential Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands and other live decorations for no charge between Dec. 26, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2019. All other times of the year, current volume-based fees will apply. Trees will be ground into wood chip mulch, available for purchase at the YRC and Lone Pine recycling centers. Please remember to remove tree stands, decorations, wiring and twine. No flocked trees are accepted. Call the City’s Recycling Hotline at 864-1904 for more information.

Bass Pro Shops will accept live trees at their outlet store front parking lot (2011 S. Campbell Avenue) between noon and 6 p.m., daily, Dec. 26 – 30. A $2 per tree donation is requested, benefiting Ozark Trails Council Boy Scouts projects. Trees will be used to provide wildlife habitat for rabbits, quail and songbirds. For more information, contact Katie Mitchell at 873-5618.

Hansen’s Greenwaste (3341 S. Farm Road 107, Brookline) will accept residential Christmas trees for no fee Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 31, 2019. Please remove all tree stands and decorations. No flocked trees accepted. Call 877-8733 for more information.

Wickman’s Gardens (1345 S. Fort Avenue) will accept live Christmas trees beginning Dec. 26 for a $5 donation. Proceeds will be donated to Great Circle. Trees will be ground into wood chip mulch available for free if you bring your own container. Please remove all tree stands, decorations and plastic bags. No flocked trees accepted.  For more information, call 862-3707.


The City of Joplin will have three collection points for discarded, natural (live) Christmas trees starting December 26 and running through January 31.  Bring your tree, completely stripped of all decorations, and place it near the “Christmas Tree” drop-off sign posted at one of the following locations:

  • Humphreys Park parking lot at 2203 East Utica Street in the Royal Heights area
  • McIndoe Park boat ramp parking lot on the southwest corner at Glendale Road and Jackson Avenue (900 Glendale Road)
  • Public Works Center outside of the fence near the gate at 1301 West Second Street

Also, the Recycling Center accepts many discarded holiday items including, gift wrapping paper boxes, bottles, cans, greeting cards, cooking oil, and clean packing materials such as peanuts and bubble wrap. The Center is located at 1310 West A Street and is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 12 noon to 6 p.m., and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Christmas Tree Recycling:   Real Christmas trees may be recycled at four locations.  The trees will be used for wildlife habitat and trail maintenance. (Trees with sprayed on flocking cannot be accepted.  All tinsel, decorations, and plastic bags must be removed. )

  • Hansens Tree Service in Reeds Spring
  • Sunny Hills Garden Center in Kirbyville
  • Springfield (Only) Bass Pro
  • Drury-Mincy Campground on Hwy J

Bubble wrap and packing peanuts can be recycled at any UPS store.  Branson UPS store is on Hwy 48 next to Pizza Ranch.

Plastic wrap, plastic film, plastic bags and small pieces of plastic like straws, candy wrappers and cutlery get tangled up in equipment and should be thrown in your trash or recycled at your local Target and Walmart entrances.

Branson’s full-service recycling center is located at 550 Compton Drive, across from the Branson Community Center.  Recycling is available 24/7 there and your items can be dropped off anytime. Staff will be there to assist you from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday after Christmas.

A convenient 24/7 recycle trailer is also available in the Branson United Methodist Church parking lot on Highway 76 for recycling anytime.

Bring any of these items to either location for processing:

  • Cardboard boxes (please flatten), packaging, wrapping/tissue paper (no foil or shiny).
  • Catalogs, greeting cards, envelopes and any other kind of clean paper.
  • Tin cans, glass jars and bottles, aluminum cans.  Labels are okay and do not need to be removed.
  • All kinds of plastic food or beverage containers.  No Styrofoam.  You keep the lids, please.


Artificial trees and holiday décor in usable condition are accepted for free at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (2410 S. Scenic Ave.) and many local thrift stores. This is a great way to give your tree a second chance and bring holiday cheer to a new family. Call ahead to confirm need prior to arriving.

As a pilot program this year, the Computer Recycling Center (528 N. Prince Lane) is accepting artificial trees now through Jan. 31 for $10 per tree.

“Trees in poor condition may also be disposed at the Springfield Sanitary Landfill. But we really urge folks to think of the trash as a last resort for all items,” Krug adds. “By donating and recycling, we save valuable landfill space for many Christmases to come.”