How and where to recycle old Christmas decorations

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Christmas is over and now it’s time to get rid of that almost dry tree, that old string of lights and all that torn wrapping paper.

Here’s what you need to know about recycling your decorations, and where you can do it.

Christmas trees

Before you prepare to recycle your Christmas tree, Charleston County Environmental Management recommends removing all lights and ornaments.

The following options are available for recycling trees in the area:

Charleston County

  • Residents of Charleston County can place their Christmas trees on the sidewalk for recycling pickup on their municipality’s regular day. Keep in mind that recycling this week is being pushed back a day, due to the lack of a pickup on December 27th.
  • Residents can also drop their trees directly at a staffed recovery center (with the exception of Signal Point Rd.) Or at the McGill Bees Ferry composting facility.

Berkeley County

  • Contact the Berkeley County Water and Wastewater Authority to find information on where you can drop your tree.

Dorchester County

  • Residents who live in the City of Summerville or the City of North Charleston can place their trees curbside for regular pickup service
  • You can also bring your tree directly to one of the following sites:
    • Miles Road Convenience Site
    • Sandy Pines Convenience Store

Can I burn my Christmas tree?

You should NOT burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove as this could increase the risk of fire in the house.

Holiday lights

Fairy lights should NOT be placed in your recycling bin. Anything perceived as a “scrambler” could damage recycling sorting equipment.

Here are some options instead of local recycling:

  • Holiday LEDs have a Christmas Lights Recycling Program where you can send in your old used lamps and receive an online coupon in return
  • The Christmas light source also has a recycling program where you can send your old lights and they will take them to be recycled. All recycling proceeds are saved and used to purchase items for Toys for Tots.

Other vacation recycling

Charleston County Recycling has posted a list of items that may / may not go in your recycling bin.

The following items CAN be recycled:

  • Gift boxes
  • Flattened cardboard
  • Silk paper
  • Shoe boxes
  • Paper gift bags
  • Gift wrap
  • Cards and envelopes

The following items CANNOT be recycled:

  • Ribbons and knots
  • Holiday lights
  • Bubble wrap
  • Plastic wrap
  • Polystyrene / peanut packaging
  • Plastic shopping bags

If in doubt whether or not an item can be recycled, it is always a good idea to check with your local recycling department.


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