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.
- 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.
Barnet residents should leave their 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, they should be accepted between 6 January to 1 February 2020. Otherwise, take your tree to the recycling centre on Summers Lane in North Finchley.
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 6 January 2020, 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 find Reuse and Recycling Centres at Thames Road in Crayford and Maidstone Road in Foots Cray.
Brent residents can make use of 19 drop-off points open across the borough between 28 December 2019 and 12 January 2020, plus a handful of two-hour pop-up collection points on Saturday 4 and Saturday 11 January 2020. You can also just lug the beast down to the Reuse and Recycling Centre on Abbey Road.
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 11 and Sunday 12 January 2020. If you've already got a waste disposal permit, you can also offload your Christmas tree at the Waldo Road or Churchfields Road recycling centres.
Camden is opening a number of Christmas tree recycling points across the borough from 2-14 January 2020 – these range from local squares, to car parks, to garden centres. 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, or if you've got a number of other bulky items to get rid of, it may be worth making the most of Camden's large household item collection. There's a charge, but they'll take up to a whopping 60 black bags' worth of rubbish.
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. No details on these points yet, so keep an eye on their website.
Croydon Council will once again be collecting decoration-less trees from kerbside properties this year. Just strip it off ornaments and leave it out next to your regular bin from 13 January 2020 – they will collect it within two weeks. If you're not in a kerbside property (or miss the collection), take the tree to one of Croydon's three reuse and recycling centres instead.
Ealing residents can pop their tree out for collection on their usual bin collection day in January. The precise collection period hasn't been confirmed yet, but last year it was the first three weeks of the year. Leave it on the front edge of your property and make sure any trees taller than six foot (or bigger than 20cm diameter) are cut down. Otherwise, there are a bunch of pop-up collection points across the borough where you can offload your tree in its entirety right up until the end of January 2020.
Curveball, if you live in Enfield you can pop your real Christmas tree out for collection with your... food recycling bin. Do this on your usual food recycling day between 6-13 January 2020 (chop it so it's shorter than 6ft or it won't be taken). There are also 13 drop-off points across the borough, open until 12 January 2020. After this date, take your tree to Barrowell Green Recycling Centre.
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 6-17 January 2020, Hackney Council will collect your tree on your normal rubbish and recycling day (leave it out the front by 7am if you're in a house, or next to the communal bins if you live in flats). Otherwise, take it to the Millfields Depot before 31 January 2020. Bonus fact: all trees get shredded and become compost to be used in Hackney parks and gardens.
Hammersmith & Fulham
Between 2 and 15 January 2020, 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. If you'd like to offload your tree even sooner, there are 10 designated drop-off points around the borough open from 27 December 2019 to 15 January 2020.
If you live in a kerbside property, Haringey will collect your tree on the condition it's cut into pieces no more than three feet long. Chop it, then leave it out with your bin on normal collection day. Otherwise, take it to the Haringey Recycling Centre in Wood Green, to the kind folk at Doncaster Gardens Community Gardens (until 26 January 2020), 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 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. Last year, a four-hour tree recycling pop up was set up in Gidea Park Sports Ground in Romford, but no news of that returning just yet.
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 6 January 2020, but you have to call the Hillingdon Contact Centre to let them know they need to pop by. Alternatively, organise a bulky waste collection — each household gets one free collection every three months.
Christmas trees will be collected by the council between 7-17 January 2020, 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 the that page to see a number of collection points where you drop your tree off during January.
Take your tree to one of the nine drop-off points between 2-21 January 2020 — or the Hornsey Street recycling centre accepts trees all year round. Trees will also be collected from houses on normal recycling collection day from 2-21 January, from council estates on Saturday 11 and 18 January (check the exact location with your caretaker), or from your flat-above-a-shop on 6 January.
Kensington & Chelsea
Kensington & Chelsea residents are encouraged to take their trees to one of several drop-off points around the borough between 2-19 January 2020. Alternatively, the council will collect it from your house on your usual collection day between 2-17 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 between 13-24 January 2020, 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 13 January 2020, and it'll be collected sometime between then and 27 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.
Newham hasn't made specific arrangements for Christmas trees, but will collect them as part of the green garden waste collections (free, but you do need to apply online), provided they are cut down to a manageable size. People who don't subscribe to this service can dispose of their trees at the Jenkins Lane recycling centre instead.
Redbridge residents should leave their Christmas trees out the front of their properties between 13-24 January 2020 — collection will take place sometime during those two weeks. Otherwise the Chigwell Road tip accepts garden waste.
Richmond will collect your tree for recycling between 6-17 January 2020 on the normal garden waste collection day. Note, you don't have to be a garden waste collection subscriber to have your tree collected. Or you can take it to one of the seven drop-off points across the borough from 2-17 January.
Southwark is another council that collects Christmas trees left by bins on normal waste collection days in January. Or simply dispose of your arboreal chum at the recycling centre on Devon Street instead — you'll need to show proof of residence.
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 6-20 January 2020. 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 (PDF info here), 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.
For two weeks in January, Wandsworth Council will collect your Christmas tree if it's left outside with your rubbish on the usual collection day. Exact dates for 2020 are still to be confirmed so check back on the Wandsworth Council website nearer the time. The Smugglers Way (great name) reuse and recycling centre is another option.