The lights are off, the tinsel's down, and it's time for your Christmas tree to leave the party. But where can you dispose of a Christmas tree in London? Here's a borough by borough guide.
But before we get stuck into the whats and wheres, here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Waste collection days often change over the festive period, as do reuse and recycling centre opening hours. Remember to check with your local borough for any amendments. Currently, many councils are also struggling with staff shortages due to Covid-19 and isolation periods, so schedules may be altered at the last minute.
- It may sound obvious, but councils only accept the tree, the whole tree and nothing but the tree (and only real trees — artificial trees should go to the tip). That means removing any pots, soil or decorations beforehand.
- It's often necessary to break your Christmas tree down into smaller pieces, especially if it is being collected in your garden waste bin.
- Common sense prevails. In areas where you can leave your tree out to be collected with your usual refuse, make sure it's in clear sight but not obstructing the pavement.
- Dumping your Christmas tree randomly on the street counts as fly-tipping and can carry a fine. You've been warned.
Barking and Dagenham
Barking and Dagenham won't take your tree away as part of your collections, but they have special drop-off points on selected dates.
Barnet residents should leave their real Christmas trees at the boundary of their property on regular collection day to have them taken away. As long as they have been broken in half and have all decorations removed, they should be accepted throughout January 2022.
Good news for... some Bexley residents. Bexley Council will collect your Christmas tree but only if you're signed up to the garden waste service. This service is suspended over Christmas but picks up again on 10 January 2022, so make sure you've removed all decorations, cut the tree in half, and placed it next to your garden waste bin by collection day. Otherwise, you can take your tree to the recycling centres at Thames Road in Crayford or Maidstone Road in Foots Cray.
No mention of the multiple drop-off points that have previously been open to Brent residents. Instead, those signed up to the garden waste collection can pop their tree in there (chopped and stripped, of course). Otherwise, you can pay £35 for a one-off bulky waste collection (combine it with anything else you've been meaning to get rid of — you can dispose of up to five items at once) or take it to the Reuse and Recycling Centre, Abbey Road, NW10 7TJ (closed 25-26 December and 1 January).
If you're signed up to the green garden waste bin collection service, chop your tree up and pop it in there (again, it must be in the bin for it to be collected). Otherwise a number of temporary recycling centres where you can dispose of your tree will pop-up across the Bromley borough for the weekend of Saturday 8 (Norman Park, Bromley, and Salt Depot, Green Street Green) and Sunday, 9 January 2022 (Unicorn Primary School, Beckenham, and Charles Darwin School, Biggin Hill).
Camden is opening a number of Christmas tree recycling points across the borough from 3-14 January 2022 – these range from local squares, to car parks, to garden centres, and are for Camden Borough residents only. Find your nearest one on this handy Christmas Tree Recycling Point Map. Garden waste subscribers can chop and pop the tree in their usual garden waste bin.
City of London
The City of London usually operate a Christmas tree recycling service where residents can drop off their real trees at designated collection points to be composted. It looks like that isn't happening this year — instead, contact your Estate Office or concierge for details about where and how you can recycle your tree.
No update yet on what Croydon Council is doing regarding Christmas tree collections this year. Here's what happened back in January 2020, though of course, a lot has changed since then. Keep an eye on the website for further updates.
No word yet from Ealing Council on how its residents can recycle their Christmas trees — keep an eye on the website in case it's updated closer to the time.
If you live in Enfield and subscribe to the garden waste service, you can pop your real Christmas tree out for collection with that on your usual collection day (chop it so it's shorter than 6ft or it won't be taken). Otherwise, book online for a special Christmas tree collection service between 10-21 January 2022, or take it to one of several collection points in parks around the borough (full list here) until 30 January 2022.
No information has been released yet for this year, but in the past Greenwich borough has always whisked away residents' trees as part of their weekly bin collection. We imagine they'll do the same again, but keep your eyes peeled on the Greenwich Borough website just in case.
Between 3-14 January 2022, Hackney Council will collect your tree on your normal rubbish and recycling day (leave it out the front by 6am if you're in a house, or next to the communal bins if you live in flats). Otherwise, take it to the Millfields Depot between 4 and 30 January 2022. Bonus fact: all trees get shredded and become compost to be used in growing food across Hackney.
Hammersmith & Fulham
Between 3 and 21 January 2022, Hammersmith & Fulham will kindly collect your tree as part of your normal waste collection. Simply leave it out the front of the property on your collection day. There are also 10 designated drop-off points around the borough.
If you live in a kerbside property, Haringey will collect your tree if you normally have a food or garden waste collection. Chop it into pieces no longer than 1m long, then leave it out with your bin on normal collection day. Otherwise, take it to the Haringey Recycling Centre in Wood Green, or one of the six drop-off sites in parks (only available for the four weeks after Christmas).
There don't seem to be any specific collection arrangements in place in Harrow, but you can recycle your tree by dropping it off yourself at the Harrow Recycling Centre in Wealdstone. Note that this centre is for Harrow residents only, and you need to bring both photo ID and a proof of address such as a utility bill.
Havering residents previously were left to their own devices when getting rid of their Christmas trees, but there has been a slight improvement in recent years. Now, if you're a garden waste or compostable sack service customer, simply chop it and chuck it in your garden waste bin. Otherwise, Gerpins Lane House and Recycling Centre will take it off your hands.
Christmas trees will be collected throughout January as part of residents' weekly garden waste collection — just cut it in half and pop it next to your garden waste on a usual collection day. Flat-dwellers can also leave their trees out for collection from 10 January 2022, but you have to call the Hillingdon Contact Centre (01895 556000) to let them know they need to pop by. Alternatively, organise a bulky waste collection.
Christmas trees will be collected by the council between 10-21 January 2022, but do note that Christmas tree collection takes place on different days to other rubbish collections — usually the week before or week after. More details on the London Borough of Hounslow website here. If you're a resident who doesn't receive the wheelie bin service, scroll to the bottom of that page to see a number of collection points where you drop your tree off between 24 December and 28 January.
Take your tree to one of the nine drop-off points between 4-15 January 2022 — or the Hornsey Street recycling centre accepts trees all year round. Trees will also be collected from houses and estates on normal recycling collection day.
Kensington & Chelsea
Kensington & Chelsea residents are encouraged to take their trees to one of several drop-off points around the borough between 2-23 January 2022. Alternatively, the council will collect it from your house on your usual collection day between 3-21 January, although make sure the tree is out the front by 7am or you may miss it. Residents living in flats should ask their property manager if there's a separate collection in place, otherwise it'll need to be taken to one of the drop-off points.
Leave your Christmas tree next to your black wheelie bin from 10 January 2022, and Kingston Council will take it away. Otherwise, the recycling centre off Villiers Road will take it off your hands at any time.
Lambeth tend to be a little tardy in confirming their Christmas tree collections, but in past years they have collected your trees throughout January on usual collection day. Fingers crossed it will be the same again. Whatever the deal with collection this year, there are also a handful of collection centres that you can take your tree to.
No details confirmed yet for Lewisham, but last year there were 11 locations where you could drop your tree off throughout January. Garden waste subscribers could also put it in their garden waste bin as long as the piece were no bigger than 10cm thick and 50cm long.
Put your tree out for collection by Monday, 10 January 2022, and it'll be collected sometime between then and the end of January. Otherwise, put it out with your garden waste if you subscribe to that service, or take it down to the recycling centre in Morden.
Usually, Newham will collect Christmas trees as part of the green garden waste collections. However, as these are currently suspended due to staff shortages, you can book a slot to have your tree collected. Bookings open on 24 December 2021 and collections commence on 4 January 2022.
Redbridge residents should leave their Christmas trees out the front of their properties for collection between 10-21 January 2022 — collection will take place sometime during those two weeks, but you won't know when, so put sprucey out by 6am on 10 January or you may miss it. Otherwise the Chigwell Road tip accepts garden waste.
Richmond will collect your tree for recycling between 3-14 January 2022 on the normal garden waste collection day. Note, you don't have to be a garden waste collection subscriber to have your tree collected. Alternatively, you can take it to one of the seven drop-off points across the borough.
Southwark will take your tree away with your food and garden waste collection. If you don't have that service, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and arrange a free collection. If your tree is more than 6ft tall, you'll need to cut it in half.
Sutton Council usually collects trees from the kerbside during two weeks in January — keep checking the website for details to be announced. Otherwise, discard it at the Kimpton Park Way recycling centre instead.
Tower Hamlets residents who have a food and garden waste collection can leave the tree out as part of that between 3-21 January 2022. Those who do not have kerbside collection services should speak to their caretaker or management company, as there may be communal collection points nearby.
Leave your tree next to your brown garden waste bin if you have kerbside organic collection, or take it to one of the three waste and recycling centres in Leyton, Chingford or Walthamstow. If your tree is excessive in size, arrange a separate large item collection with Waltham Forest Council.
Wandsworth Council will collect your Christmas tree if it's left outside with your rubbish on the usual collection day between 4-14 January 2022. The Smugglers Way (great name) reuse and recycling centre is another option.