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How to properly dispose of your Christmas tree in King County

Now that the holiday season has wrapped up, it's time to start thinking about how to properly take down the lights, decorations and Christmas tree.

SEATTLE — Editor's note: The above video aired in 2018. 

According to The New York Times, there was a 50% increase in Christmas tree sales nationwide throughout 2020, since most Americans stayed home for the holidays due to the pandemic. 

Now that the holiday season has wrapped up, it's time to start thinking about taking down the lights, decorations and Christmas tree.

Waste Management cites studies showing Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of the year.

So what steps should you take when removing your tree?

Remember that the tree needs to have all decorations removed. Christmas lights are not recyclable or compostable, so either roll them up and keep them for next year, or donate them. Remove as much tinsel as possible. Also, know that flocked trees can't be mulched. 

Depending on where you live, there could be different requirements for properly removing your tree.

According to King County’s Holiday Tree Recycling guide, recycling your holiday tree tends to be cheaper than disposing of it. It's also better for the environment.

The guide says if you have a curbside yard waste collection service, you can put your tree out on the curb with your regular yard waste. 

The guide includes some areas and facilities throughout the county that offer tree recycling services. 

You can see a full list of locations, costs and restrictions here. 

Seattle residents can recycle their live Christmas trees for free now through Jan. 31. 

A limit of two trees per cart can be placed next to or in yard waste on collection days, and up to three trees per vehicle can be dropped off at city transfer stations, with restrictions.

Regular fees apply to both options starting Feb. 1.