Try An Eco Friendly Christmas Tree

Upcycled, recycled, reused eco-friendly Christmas trees are a sustainable alternative to chopping down a living tree, or buying a tree that’s been chopped down and shipped to you.

reuse christmas tree

Christmas tree farms are a classic example of monoculture, where a single crop is cultivated in a wide area. Row after row of similar trees does not make for a healthy, diversified ecosystem. In order to keep trees healthy, most Christmas tree farmers use pesticides.

After Christmas, millions of trees are thrown away. Some cities, like Seattle, take trees left curbside directly to a compost facility. In other cities, like Pittsburgh, residents must take trees to a designated drop-off location. These recycled trees are chipped into mulch, burned for fuel, some even end up as marine habitat. But every area has tree pickup—many end up in landfills.

New plastic Christmas trees can be reused, but will eventually end up in the landfill too. So consider making your tree from materials that have already been used, or that you already have. Get creative!

bicycle christmas tree
Tree-Cycle, The Rocks, Sydney.
100 bikes that were on there way to be recycled take a pose as a Christmas tree before their ultimate destined meltdown. The frames were painted green, the wheels multi colors. The top of the tree is comprised of front forks and tires. Source

cd christmas tree
CD Christmas Tree
with tape blanket
by Tom Deninger for Chelsea Market, 2010

bottle christmas tree
Haifa, Israel. Ernest and Hadas Itzcovitch used 5480 recycled plastic bottles to build this Christmas tree, with the intent to raise awareness of our need to be more diligent recyclers. Source

plastic bottle christmas tree
As below.

plastic bottle christmas tree
Eden Project in Cornwall, UK.
The tree is made entirely of recycled materials – including 22,500 plastic bags.
The top angel is made from cling wrap and milk bottles. Source 

plastic bottle christmas tree
Plastic bottle tree, New Market Calcutta, India. Flickr photo by alipta.

plastic bottle christmas tree
As below.

plastic bottle christmas tree
Designpack plastic bottle trees, Paris. The DesignPack Gallery is dedicated to the art packaging. They sell a cardboard version of the above tree – save your green bottles.

plastic bottle christmas tree
Plastic Bottle tree, Paris, as above. Source

plastic bottle christmas tree
Plastic Bottle Christmas Tree
by Jolanta Smidtienė of Kaunas, Lithuania.
13-meters tall and made from nearly 40,000 recycled green bottles and zip ties.

plastic bottle christmas tree
Kaunas, Lithuania

eco christmas tree
Plastic bottle tree. People pedal to produce enough energy to light up the eco-friendly Christmas tree set up at the Basilica de San Francisco explanade in La Paz, Bolivia. The 45 foot tree was made with roughly 50,000 plastic bottles.

plastic bottle christmas tree
The Rock, Sydney, Australia, 2009. Flickr photo by Gdanny.

christmas tree made from cans
Soda can Christmas tree. Note milk jug on top. Source + instructions.

shopping cart christmas tree
Shopping Cart Tree – as below. Looks better at night. Flickr photo by danieljsf.

shopping cart christmas tree
The 14th annual shopping cart Christmas tree near Santa Monica. 33 feet tall, 86 shopping carts. Designer:

junkyard christmas tree
Hub Cap Christmas Tree, Arundel, Maine.

This tutorial shows how to make a tree out of a pallet. You’ll need basic power tools.

twig christmas tree
Karen Clouston of Alberta, Canada, made this Christmas tree from poplar and willow branches wired to an upside-down tomato cage. Most of the decorations were made from orange slices, nuts, pine cones and scrap cardboard. The garlands are raffia and the tree skirt is heavy brown paper. Thanks Karen, can’t wait to see next year’s!

bamboo christmas tree
Bamboo Christmas tree in Tokyo, Japan. 8 meters high, based on the fibonacci sequence. Source

plastic bottle christmas tree
Plastic bottle Christmas Tree, this one arranged with abandon. Flickr photo by Suzuran ranran.

plastic bag christmas tree
This majestic Portuguese tree is made up of all sorts of plastic discards. Flickr photo by Kuyshi.

christmas tree made of waste
Lobster Pot Christmas Tree, Maine. Buoys, too.

plastic bag christmas tree
Plastic Bag Christmas Tree in South Korea. Source

ladder christmas tree
The greenest – just decorate your ladder.

book christmas tree
Book Christmas Tree
by Frederico Uribe.

reuse christmas tree
Book Light Christmas Tree

book christmas tree
San Francisco Library’s Christmas tree. Note the little figures standing on the books. You’ll even burn some calories constructing and deconstructing this one. Source.

This tree is easy to take down. And it cuts down on noise pollution.

plastic bottle christmas tree
Another plastic bottle Christmas Tree. Bottles tilt down. Flickr photo by cathepsut.

eco christmas tree
A 60ft LED tree illumined Dublin’s skyline during the 2008 winter season.
Dublin, Ireland. Source.

ice christmas tree
Ice sculpted into an 18 foot high Christmas Tree in Austria. Source.

natural uncut christmas tree
A massive oak tree covered with spanish moss in Wilmington NC is believed to be more than 400 years old. It has been continuously decorated and lit since 1928. Source.

chair christmas tree
Stacked chairs tree, The Rocks at Sydney, 2008. Source.

book christmas tree
Book Christmas Tree

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building.


Leave a Reply
  1. Please give details!

    Normally I do not give permission to publish a whole post as I do A LOT of research when I put a page together and often contact artists, etc. And I do not think it fair if someone comes along and copies a page. Not fair to me, because I spend hours/days creating the post, nor to the artists whom I feature. If appropriate I can give permission to post one image with a link back, but never a whole page. Thanks for writing. Please give details, thanks.

    • And yet, right beneath your well researched well-intentioned post there’s an ad for not-so-ecifriendly Christmas trees on Amazon .


      I guess when monetizing a blog you dont have control over advertising

      • Yes – we are able to block some things from those ad units, but it’s harder to block certain examples as you pointed out. We are lucky that are readers typically are conscious consumers and will ignore those types of products. =)

  2. i love recycling to make beautiful art…i intend to make a plastic water bottle tree for my house for christmas…also i am starting a art project at a beach i go to and we are making a sailboat out of bottles…love this site….thanks for inspiration….fran

  3. Last year we cut hundreds of leaves from old nature mags and assembled them into a christmas tree shape on our chimney breast. People were most impressed and it was great fun to do as well as being more eco friendly. We have been trying to decide what this year’s tree will be and went on this website for inspiration. Well we got it!

  4. As far as I can tell I love these one of a kind eco-friendly Christmas trees far more than the mass produces synthetic trees. I save my plastic containers and buckets of all shapes and sizes because I regularly have need of a plastic container. I think a little wire and some led lights will mage my ice cream buckets, yogurt containers, juice bottles, and water bottles light up in glorious fashion! Thanks for the inspiration.

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