How to dispose of your Christmas tree in Kingston and area for 2021

A decked-out tree adds sparkle and warmth to the home, but figuring out what to do with that tree after the holidays can be tricky. Municipal roadside tree pick-up is not an option for those living in the City of Kingston, but there are a variety of ways to dispose of or repurpose trees in Kingston and the area. Photo by Sandra Seitamaa.

We all want to hold on to the holidays as long as possible, but when the time comes to put away the decorations, those who choose to adorn real trees for Christmas are often left wondering how to get rid of that tree.

It’s important to know that the City of Kingston does not collect Christmas trees from the roadside, so putting out your un-decorated tree for municipal pick up is not an option. There are, however, a variety of options for disposing of – or repurposing – your tree.

It is also important to ensure all decorations are removed from your tree prior to disposal. This includes tinsel, which can prove to be a health hazard for pets and wildlife, according to the OSPCA.

The City of Kingston does allow residents to drop off their un-decorated trees at the Kingston Area Recycling Centre (KARC) Yard Waste Drop Off area, free of charge. The KARC is located at 196 Lappan’s Lane.

Donating trees

Many farms animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres accept un-decorated trees for a variety of uses. Call ahead to ensure when and where your favourite farms or animal welfare facilities are accepting trees, and keep in mind that many have suspended accepting trees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a list of farms and animal sanctuaries/rehabilitation centres that are accepting trees during the 2021 holiday season:

  • Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, located at 8749 County Road 2 in Napanee, is accepting trees that are un-decorated and still living. Find out more about Sandy Pines here.
  • Happy Tales Farm Sanctuary, located at 3225 Wilton Road in Harrowsmith, is accepting un-decorated trees, and asks that residents ensure all hooks and/or tinsel is removed prior to dropping trees off at their emergency address sign at the roadside. Trees will be accepted until Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, and those with the Sanctuary caution that the driveway at their location can be very slippery. Find out more about Happy Tales Farm Sanctuary here.
  • Gibbon’s Goats is accepting trees by drop-off, and is located just north of Napanee. Call ahead for drop-off location: 613-929-9966.

Tree collection for charity

Many non-profit organizations will collect un-decorated trees for donations over the holidays, however, much of this activity has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, as children’s sports teams and organizations are closed, and people are unable to gather in large groups. However, there are those who have taken on the task in order to raise funds for charity despite the pandemic:

  • Christmas Tree Pickup Kingston has a goal of raising $1,000 for Martha’s Table, and will arrange to pick up trees in the Kingston area for a $10 fee (fee may increase if tree is larger than 8’). The service also offers disposal for wreaths, yard waste, bags of leaves, and garbage. Find out more about Christmas Tree Pick Up Kingston here.
  • Almost Home Christmas Tree Pick Up will take place on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. The charitable organization that provides temporary accommodation to families with ill or injured children receiving medical treatment in Kingston area hospitals has opened registration for Christmas Tree pick up for a $10 fee. All funds paid go to support families with sick kids at Almost Home. Learn more and register for a pick up here.

Letting Mother Nature take its course

While not everyone has the space or ability to, Nature Conservancy Canada suggests placing your un-decorated tree in your yard to allow birds to use it. Most trees will decompose into soil within a year, with many of the tree types used for Christmas trees decomposing into soil by the coming fall. Find out more from Nature Conservancy Canada here.

Know of any tree disposal options we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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