Free pickup of your real Christmas Tree

Posted 1/6/21

By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Every year, people flock to lots and farms to pick out their very own real tree. Seasoned vets know the tricks of the process, including how to get rid of a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Free pickup of your real Christmas Tree


By Bruce Karnick

[email protected]

Every year, people flock to lots and farms to pick out their very own real tree. Seasoned vets know the tricks of the process, including how to get rid of a tree once Christmas is over. It is a lot simpler than you think thanks to Tennis Sanitation. There are other options as well if you want to “recycle” them.

For two weeks, January 4th through the 15th, Tennis Sanitation Customers in the City of Hastings have the option of putting their trees at the curb for free disposal on their scheduled day. There are some important caveats to this.

1. Remove ALL decorations.

2. Sections of the trees need to be under six feet in length. If your tree is six feet tall or larger, you will need to cut it in half. This is not negotiable. Trees over six feet do not fit in the trucks.

As a former driver, I can tell you, Christmas time is a lot of extra work for drivers. A LOT of extra work. All the extra trash the week of Christmas, plus the trees make for very long days, so please, please follow these tips to make life easier for your drivers. Remember, many of these routes are over 600 stops per day, some are over 1000. An extra 20+ seconds at every stop can add a few hours to a route, and it is never really that short at each stop.

Keep some space between your carts and any extras. Piling bags and trees touching the cart is the worst thing you can do. Drivers need the carts to put the extra trash in the truck, so they need to dump the cart before they get out. Do not add an extra step, leave three feet clear around each cart.

Put recycle on one side of the driveway and garbage on the other. This is something you should do anyway, but when you have extras, keeping the extras separated is key. If a driver is not sure about a bag being recycle or garbage, they will take it as garbage and charge accordingly. Remember most wrapping paper is not recyclable due to the coating on the paper.

If you use a plastic bag to wrap the tree before you remove it from the house, take it off and dispose if it in your garbage before you put the tree in the snowbank. Yes, some needles will be in your yard, but it will be a lot less than if you leave the bag on. The bags get caught on the grabbers of the trucks and when the driver tries to drop the tree in the hopper, it can cause needles to fly everywhere. Trust the process on this, take off the bag and throw it in the garbage.

Put your tree on top of the snowbank as close to the street as you can, trunk facing the street. If you must cut your tree because it is over six feet, leave room between the sections and put the thickest part toward the road and point the top to the house. If you have any type of landscaping under the snow, do not set your tree on the landscaping, it will get hit and damaged by the arm.

Remember to thank your drivers, all of them, including the mail carriers and special delivery folks like Amazon, UPS, FedEx. Cookies, beverages, stuff they can snack on in the truck, that kind of stuff is awesome for long days.

What if you do not want to put them in the garbage?

If you have a home composting setup, a thin layer of Pine branches at the bottom of the pile can help with airflow and they will breakdown over time providing an excellent base. Experts suggest a four-to-six-inch thickness of the base layer.

Mulch it! Pine tree mulch has a nice aroma to it and can help save you some money from buying mulch at the store. The downside is the cost of the mulching machine or the time you have to put into doing the work. For some, that’s the fun part!

Trim the branches off and cut the trunk into discs for landscaping edging then use the branches to cover perennials.

Burn it! Outdoors only please. Burning Pine in an indoor fireplace creates a layer of creosote on the inside of the chimney resulting in a dangerous situation. Do not, under any circumstances burn your tree in your fireplace. Get your firepit going outside and snuggle up around a winter fire with some hot chocolate!

There are so many great suggestions online, of course, some weird ones too, like put a branch in your fish tank. That sounds like a terrible idea. Do a quick google search if you want to look for alternatives to simply tossing it in the garbage. Keep in mind, much of the region’s garbage does get incinerated, so your Christmas tree will likely end up being converted to energy if you do toss it in the garbage.

Just remember, no bags, no ornaments, under six-foot sections, get it to the curb and leave room for the grabber to do its job!