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When and where residents can dispose of Christmas trees in Fairfax County

Christmas trees for sale at the Pan Am Shopping Center in Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Christmas Day has come and gone, but the trees festooned with lights and tinsel for the occasion need to stay up for another week if you’re counting on a curbside pickup.

For the roughly 10% of residents served by Fairfax County, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services will collect live trees for recycling from Jan. 1-13 as part of its regular waste services.

Private trash companies licensed to operate in the county are also required to pick up trees 8 feet or shorter that are set outside in single-family and townhouse communities during the first two weeks in January.

“At the end of the two-week collection period, residents serviced by the County can schedule a brush pick-up for trees,” DPWES said in a news release. “Those who utilize a private company should contact their hauler with questions regarding collection of Christmas trees following the two-week period for special tree collection.”

Community members can also dispose of their trees directly at the I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Road) and I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) in Lorton during their operating hours, though both have a $9 recycling fee for Christmas trees.

Trees that get recycled are turned into mulch that the county offers to residents.

Lights, ornaments, stands and other accessories must be removed before disposal.

“DPWES asks residents to dispose of tree lights in their recycling or trash because they get tangled in our machinery and their components are bad for the environment,” the department said, noting that lights can be dropped off at the county’s e-waste disposal sites or potentially local hardware stores.

For artificial trees, the county advises donating them to a charitable organization or church if they’re still in good condition. Local options include the Springfield nonprofit ECHO, which accepts Christmas trees in November and December, and GreenDrop sites, which also accept decorations.

In the Town of Vienna, curbside collection services will be provided for natural Christmas trees throughout January, and Town of Herndon residents can get trees picked up on their regularly scheduled trash day from Jan. 3-5 and Jan. 10-12.

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