If you're visiting Atlanta for the holidays or are a resident during the season and purchased a Christmas tree for your home, you'll need to find a proper place to dispose of it after New Years has come and gone. Fortunately, there are a number of different options for recycling your Christmas tree in the Atlanta area.
In fact, the entire state of Georgia has a program called "Bring One for the Chipper," which allows residents of the state to bring in their retired Christmas trees to special collection centers (usually set up at Home Depots across the state) where Keep Georgia Beautiful "recycles" the trees into mulch.
Some counties, especially in and around Atlanta, also offer curbside collection as part of their trash pickup services, though there are special requirements for recycling trees this way, including that trees left on the curb must not exceed four feet in height.
Additionally, some of the Atlanta area Christmas tree farms offer drop-off services for a small fee, so chances are that if you got your tree from one of these farms, they can also dispose of the tree for you after the holiday season.
Tree Recycling Centers and Drop Off Points
"Bring One for the Chipper," sponsored by Keep Georgia Beautiful, is the statewide recycling program for Christmas trees, and since 1991, "Bring One for the Chipper" has collected over 5 million trees. At many of the locations this organization sets up across the street, Boy Scouts are on hand to help you quickly unload your tree.
See the Bring One for the Chipper (BOFTC) website for this year's drop off day and a full list of locations, but most Home Depot stores participate in tree recycling; Atlanta area tree drop-off points include the Home Depots at 650 Ponce De Leon, 2525 Piedmont Road, and 2450 Cumberland Parkway.
Additionally, you can find other Christmas tree recycling locations if you can't make it to one of these centers. The town of Decatur, for instance, collects trees at the Christmas Tree Recycling Center in the Agnes Scott College parking lot. The entrance to the parking lot is between 184 and 206 South Candler Street, and collection generally starts after Christmas and runs through the first week of January.
Curbside Tree Disposal in Atlanta
Some counties do take Christmas trees curbside, just like your regular trash pickup. However, there are usually some limitations on what they will accept. Dekalb, Fulton County, and City of Atlanta residents may dispose of their Christmas tree curbside, but only if the tree is less than four feet tall.
Trees should be placed at the curb according to the schedule for yard debris pick-up, and all decorations and lights must be removed before disposing of the tree. Remember that this applies to those serviced by specific Public Works groups and may not apply to those who live in the county but are serviced by an individual city (example Decatur, which is in Dekalb County).
Additionally, several county Parks and Recreation Departments set up collection centers in public parks that allow residents to bring their retired Christmas trees for disposal. For an up-to-date list of pickup times and regulations concerning Christmas tree disposal within Atlanta City Limits, check the City of Atlanta Public Works Department website.
Mulch From Recycled Trees
The tress recycled through the "Bring One for the Chipper" program are turned in to mulch, which has been used for playgrounds, local government beautification projects, and even individual yards—yep, you can actually get the mulch for free to use in your gardening projects!
The mulch created by the Bring One for the Chipper campaign is considered to be a higher quality than what is available at commercial garden centers, and you'll need a fairly large project to make use of this program—each delivery can cover between 15 to 20 cubic yards.
To get mulch for your project, download this form (PDF), fill it out, and mail or fax it in. On the form, you'll need to provide information about where the mulch should be delivered along with a diagram of the project area. The location must be accessible for large vehicles, so be aware of any low tree limbs or power lines in the area.