Guide to Christmas tree disposal in Hampton Roads


HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Depending on where you are in Hampton Roads, how you get rid of your Christmas tree may vary. In all cases, you want to dispose of it properly.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in your home or garage. “Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.”

Below are local cities and counties that have announced their plans to help residents dispose of live trees.



In Chesapeake, you can dispose of your live Christmas tree by placing it at the curb (after removing all ornaments, lights and tinsel) on your scheduled garbage day. Be aware that your garbage day may change due to the holiday schedule. There is no need to schedule a bulk pickup to dispose of your tree.

The City of Chesapeake also provided this  guide to what holiday items can and cannot be recycled.


Residents may place their Christmas tree in the brush container at any of the five Gloucester County Convenience Centers, now until January 31.

The tree should be removed from the stand, along with all ornaments, tinsel and lights. The recycled trees will be mulched for use as cost-saving landfill cover.


Hampton’s Clean City Commission has a few tips for disposing of your live Christmas tree. Collection of live trees began Dec. 26. You can:

  1. Put them out as part of your bulk trash collections on your designated collection day, or
  2. Take them to the Yard Waste site on North Park Drive.

Be sure to remove all stands, wires, lights, memorabilia, etc., from your trees before placing them for pickup or dropping them at the Yard Waste site. All trees collected will be taken to VPPSA and used for mulch and compost materials.

Isle of Wight County

Ongoing. Natural Christmas trees can be recycled at any of Isle of Wight’s eight Refuse & Recycling Centers. The tree should be free of decorations and removed from the stand. All sites are closed on New Year’s Day and will close at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

James City County

Residents can recycle Christmas trees free of charge at any County Convenience Center during normal operating hours through January 31.

The Centers are located at:

  • 117 Tewning Road,
  • 1204 Jolly Pond Road,
  • 185 Industrial Boulevard.

All decorations and tree stands must be removed prior to recycling.

The trees will be composted.

Newport News

Residents are asked to remove tinsel, ornaments and metal stands from the live trees before disposal.

Option one: place your tree curbside during your bulk collection week separate from other bulk trash.

Option two: bring your tree to the Recovery Operations Center at 520 Atkinson Way, Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (except for city observed holidays).

Click here to view your collection schedule. For more information, call 311.


Natural Trees are collected for composting on your regular trash day. Trees should be placed at the curb and free of ornaments, tinsel, lights and the stand.  

Artificial Trees and other excess holiday waste that doesn’t fit in your trash bin should be scheduled for bulk waste collection on your regular trash collection day by contacting the Norfolk Cares Center at (757) 664-6510 or online.  

Recycling Center: Bring natural trees or artificial trees, and damaged or frayed holiday lights to the Household Hazardous (HHW) and Electronic Waste Collection Center, 1176 Pineridge Road, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Closed Jan. 2, 2020). 


Residents can drop off natural trees at the Municipal Pool Parking Lot (18 Municipal Drive) now through January 21, 2020. Please remove all decorations from the tree.


The City of Portsmouth will pick up natural Christmas trees on your regularly scheduled trash collection day. Place the tree curbside. Make sure it is free of all decorations (ornaments, tinsel, lights) and removed from the stand. The collected trees will be used as landfill cover.


You must contact Kathy Bew-Jones at 365-4200 or now through Jan. 15, 2020 and provide your address if you have a Christmas tree to be picked up. Tree should be free of the stand, ornaments, tinsel, garland and lights. Trees will be composted.


Christmas trees will be collected curbside through January 7, 2021. For two weeks after Christmas the collection of a Christmas tree does not count against the 12 free special pickups allowed each year.

Virginia Beach

Options are below for Virginia Beach citizens. Note that trees should be free of their stand, tinsel, lights, and ornaments. Trees may not be left on beaches.

  • Curbside Collection: Waste Management crews will collect Christmas trees as regular yard waste on your normal collection day.
  • Landfill and Resource Recovery Center: Trees taken to the City’s Landfill and Resource Recovery Center will be chipped and used for mulch by City landscape crews.
  • Beaches: Residents should never place trees on area beaches.
  • Return to Seller: Some of the local nurseries have take-back programs. Check with the location where you purchased your tree to see if they take them back. If not, check with one that does, and they might take yours as well.
  • Local Drop-Offs: Local businesses have offered to accept trees. Be on the look-out for announcements from businesses collecting trees.
  • Faux Tree: Consider donating your tree to a charitable organization.


Christmas trees will be collected January 4 and 11, 2021. Please remove all lights and decorations before disposal.  Your tree must be at the curb before 7 a.m. on these dates.      

York County

York County’s free Christmas tree curbside collection program begins Monday, January 4 and continues through Friday, January 8.  

Residents must place their tree at the roadside by 7 a.m. on Monday, January 4, for collection during the week.

This program is available to all county communities, including those that do not subscribe to the county’s curbside collection programs.  In order to provide this service to those communities not on a curbside collection program, the county’s Waste Management division requires:

  • Approval from your Homeowners Association or community management group
  • A designated drop-off site within your community where residents can bring their trees. The designated site needs to be in a location with access to the large knuckle boom truck used for collections.

In addition to curbside collection, all York County residents, including non-subscribers, may deliver their Christmas trees to the VPPSA Compost Facility, 145 Goodwin Neck Road, from Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For curbside collection AND drop-off:

  • trees must not be placed in tree bags
  • all lights, tinsel, and ornaments must be removed
  • trees must be placed without a tree stand
  • trees larger than 6’ should be cut in half 

For more information or to schedule pickup in your neighborhood, please call the York County Waste Management Center at (757) 890-3780 or send an email to


The N.C. Division of Coastal Management is providing guidance to property owners, organizations and towns that plan to accept natural Christmas trees for use in dune restoration and/or beach sand fencing. 

Natural Christmas trees may be used for sand fencing but must be free of decorations and should be placed in a manner that meets the State’s rules for sand fencing. Christmas trees should be placed as far landward as possible and should not impede existing public access to the beach, recreational use of the beach or emergency vehicle access. In addition, trees should not be installed in a manner that could impede, trap, or otherwise endanger sea turtles, nests or hatchlings when the nesting season returns in a few months.

Trees should be installed at an angle no less than 45 degrees to the shoreline, no more than 10 feet seaward of the toe of the dune, and no less than seven feet between rows. To ensure compliance with all of the rules that apply to sand fencing, please review the standards outlined in 15A NCAC 07K .0212.  If the proposed layout of trees along the beachfront does not meet these criteria, applicants should submit a CAMA Minor Permit application for review. For more information, please contact the local CAMA permitting authority or appropriate DCM district office.

Chicho’s Pizza Christmas Tree Drive

Chicho’s Pizza is holding its 3rd annual Christmas Tree drive from Jan. 1 until Jan. 9 to help cut down on dune erosion on the beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

You can help the beaches and your budget at the same time. If you donate your live tree, in return you’ll get a coupon for a $7.99 free large cheese pizza.

Donation dates and locations:

  • Virginia Beach National Club
    2500 Tournament Drive
    Drop off dates: Jan. 2 & 3 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Jan. 9 & 10 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Chicho’s Locations
    29th Street, Shore Drive, Strawbridge & Greenbrier locations
    Jan. 9 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Last year, organizers exceeded their goal and collected more than 2,500 trees.

NOTE: Boy Scout Troop 117 in Kitty Hawk usually collects and recycles used Christmas trees as a service to the Dare County community. But they are not collecting Christmas trees this year (Dec 2020/Jan 2021), according to a message on their website.

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