Recycle your Christmas tree to spruce up Wake County parks

Drop off undecorated live trees from Dec. 26 to Jan. 28

Graphic highlighting the Happy Trails Christmas Tree Recycling program that runs from 12/26-1/28

Once the holiday is over, why not let your tree of Christmas past have a new life on one of many Wake County Park trails? Through the Happy Trails Christmas Tree Recycling Program, Wake County residents can turn their live Christmas trees into mulch that will fortify and beautify park trails around the county. There are eight convenient drop-off locations accepting trees from Dec. 26, 2023, until Jan. 28, 2024.

“We’ve been thrilled to see such tremendous support from the community for the Happy Trails Program for over a decade, and we are anticipating that support will continue growing,” said Wake County Commissioner Don Mial. “It’s a way for residents to not only improve the environment, but to also help us maintain the park trails that make Wake County such a great place to live!”

Last year, 4,828 trees were dropped off and turned into 83 tons of mulch for the parks trails – enough trees to cover more than three acres of the average Christmas tree farm and tonnage equal to about 12 elephants!

There is no charge to recycle a tree, we just ask that all decorations be removed before dropping off at any of the park or recycling locations below.

The following Wake County solid waste convenience centers are open for tree drop-offs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week:

Additionally, the following Wake County parks will accept trees from 8 a.m. to sunset, seven days a week:

Please note that all park and waste/recycling facilities will be closed:

  • Sunday, Dec. 24, for Christmas Eve
  • Monday, Dec. 25, for Christmas Day
  • Monday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day

Since 2012, the Happy Trails program has collected more than 51,389 trees and produced about 978 tons of nutrient-rich, aroma-filled mulch to spruce up Wake County Park trails.

The program is a partnership between Wake County’s Solid Waste Management Division and the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department.

For more information, contact Solid Waste Facilities Manager Grant Jones at or 919-856-6436, or Blue Jay Point County Park Manager Ben Wittenberg at or 919-870-4329.

About Wake County Solid Waste Management
The Wake County Solid Waste Management Division provides waste disposal and recycling services to residents and businesses in Wake County. The division manages 17 waste facilities including a landfill, waste transfer station, residential waste and recycling convenience centers, household hazardous waste and multi-material recycling drop-off facilities.

To learn more, visit

About Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space
Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Division preserves open space, promotes stewardship and provides equitable and inclusive education and outdoor recreation for a diverse and growing community. In 2021, more than 1.6 million people visited Wake County’s 11 parks and nature preserves.

To learn more about Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space, follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @WakeGovParks. You can also check out each of our parks on Facebook.

Press Release