How to dispose of your (natural) Christmas tree
Eagle County offers opportunities for trees from curbside pickup to community bonfires
The end of the holiday season often brings with it a mountain of trash, including Christmas trees, wrapping paper, food leftovers and more. A 2021 study from Stanford University found that Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year, contributing 25 million tons of garbage or 1 million extra tons a week.
“If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper,” read a blog post from the University on holiday waste prevention.
For Eagle County residents, there are a number of resources available to properly dispose of your waste this holiday season.
There are numerous ways to dispose of your real Christmas trees around Eagle County, including curbside pickups in Vail, Avon and Minturn as well as several community bonfires and ways to compost them.
When disposed of, trees must be free of lights, tinsel, ornaments, stands and plastic wrapping.
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The town of Vail is collecting the trees now through Jan. 31. Public Works crews will make regular sweeps through town to collect the trees. The town asks that the trees (left whole, and not cut into pieces) are placed on the side of the road so as not to block the roadway. If your tree isn’t picked up within a few days, notify the Public Works Department at 970-479-2158. Trees also may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Public Works shops on Elkhorn Drive north of the Vail golf course. The trees are chipped and turned into mulch for the town’s summer landscaping program. For more information, call the town’s Public Works Department at 970-479-2158.
The town of Avon will offer the curbside service through Feb. 3. Avon residents can also drop cut trees off at the Public Operations site at 375 Yoder Avenue at the signed, designated spot. Avon’s Public Operations Department will check for trees that are placed curbside on a frequent basis, but if residents would like to schedule a pick-up, they may call the Public Operations Department with their address and phone number. For more information or to schedule a pickup, contact Avon’s Public Operations Manager Gary Padilla at 970-748-4118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The town of Minturn’s curbside collection will be provided from Jan. 3 to Jan. 7 at noon. The town asks that residents place their undecorated trees at the end of their driveways, or curbside, for pickup. The trees will be burned as part of a bonfire on Friday, Jan. 7, at Little Beach Park in Minturn. Residents can also bring their trees directly to the bonfire, which starts at 6 p.m. and will include hot cocoa and s’mores roasting.
The town of Eagle also offers an option for a bonfire. Residents can drop off their trees at Bull Pasture Park (at 7th and Wall Street) to be burned in the town’s annual Night Bonfire on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m, which will take place at the park. Trees can be dropped off now through Jan. 4.
Gypsum residents can drop off their trees through Jan. 10 at the west end of the Gypsum Sports Complex parking lot (3295 Cooley Mesa Road).
According to Walking Mountain’s Waste Wizard app, all Eagle County residents may also drop off their Christmas trees at the Edwards rest area and EagleVail driving range parking lot until mid-February. Additionally, trees can be taken to the Eagle County Landfill in Wolcott year-round.
Vail Honeywagon is also accepting Christmas trees for composting at its Compost facility in Wolcott or for curbside pickup, both for a small disposal fee. The facility is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule a tree pickup for composting, call 970-476-3511 or visit VailHoneywagon.com.
Wrapping paper and other waste
The town of Vail also advised that wrapping paper can be recycled either curbside or at the town recycling center, as long as it does not have any glitter or metallic coloring such as silver, gold, red and green metallic, etc.
Tissue paper can be composted for residents participating in the curbside compost or subscription drop site compost program. Otherwise, it cannot be recycled.
For questions on what can or cannot be recycled, composted or thrown out, The Waste Wizard app can be downloaded on your phone or by visiting WalkingMountains.org/Eagle-County-Waste-Wizard.