Monday, March 27, 2023
March 27, 2023

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Recycle Christmas tree, holiday lights in Clark County

Take steps to keep items from becoming garbage

By , Columbian staff writer

Now that the holiday is over, Clark County Public Health urges everyone to keep their Christmas trees — those symbols of rebirth and renewal, the generosity of nature, the goodness of God, take your pick — from becoming nothing but garbage.

Did you know that our county’s ongoing waste stream typically barges as many as 250 shipping containers full of trash to a landfill in Boardman, Ore., every week? And, did you know that the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Jan. 1 boosts that amount by as much as 25 percent?

Holiday spirit doesn’t have to end with a trash hangover. Instead, take the time and effort to recycle your tree, as well as your defunct light strings.

“Recycled Christmas trees are chipped into mulch, giving trees a second life in gardens and returning nutrients back to the soil,” said Tina Kendall, Clark County’s senior environmental outreach specialist.

Just make sure you remove everything artificial first: all lights, ornaments, tinsel, wire and stands. “Flocked” (dusted with fake snow) trees cannot be recycled, nor can artificial ones. You have Clark County’s blessing to just throw those away, although artificial trees in good shape can be donated to thrift stores.

Cut up in the cart

Waste Connections, Clark County’s waste and recycling hauler, will pick up and recycle trees from customers who have regular yard debris or organics collection. Just place tree pieces that are no longer than 5 feet inside or beside your regular yard debris or organics cart for pickup on your regular service day. Taller trees must be cut into sections.

Wreaths and natural swags are OK, but remove everything artificial first. If your cart is already full, an additional fee will apply.

(If you don’t have yard debris or organics service, you can cut up your tree and put it out alongside your garbage for regular pickup. You’ll have to pay for an extra 32-gallon collection. Trees collected with the trash won’t be recycled.)

Drop it off

You can drop off trees of any size for recycling for a small fee (typically $5 or less) at the following locations:

  • Central Transfer and Recycling, 11034 N.E. 117th Ave., 360-256-8482.
  • City Bark, 2419 N.E. Andresen Road, 360-253-8461.
  • H&H Wood Recyclers, 8401 N.E. 117th Ave., 360-892-2805.
  • McFarlane’s Bark, 8806 N.E. 117th Ave., 360-892-6125.
  • Triangle Resources, 612 S.E. Union St., Camas, 360-834-7253.
  • West Van Materials Recovery Center, 6601 N.W. Old Lower River Road, 360-737-1727.

Scouts’ Jan. 7 pickup

Scouts BSA will go door-to-door collecting trees for recycling in many areas of Clark County on Jan. 7. While it’s a free service, donations of $15 or more are suggested and gratefully accepted. Flyers with instructions will be distributed in neighborhoods where pickup is available. Visit to check locations and sign up.

Last lights

If you want to donate used Christmas lights that still work, try resellers such as Goodwill stores or ReTails Thrift Store. Lights that have gone dark can be dropped off for recycling at these locations only:

  • Earth Friendly Recycling, 11825 N.E. 113th St., Suite 100, 360-433-8575.
  • EH Metal Recycling, 8801 N.E. 117th Ave., 360-334-6005.
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement (Lacamas Lake), 18801 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., 360-514-9660.

You can also trash light strings that have gone dark.

For more information on holiday recycling as well as all kinds of waste-disposal and recycling tips, visit the Clark County Green Neighbors website at