Compost from recycled Christmas trees no longer returned to Hackney’s green spaces

Hackney council asks residents to recycle Christmas trees Pic: Stephen McKay

Though Christmas is widely touted as the season of giving, it is also the season also for rampant consumerism. 

In an effort to decrease waste over the festive season, Hackney Council is asking residents to recycle their real Christmas trees. which will then to be turned into compost.  

However, unlike previous years, compost from the trees will not be used in Hackney’s green spaces as they are now being sent to a new recyling plant in Cambridgeshire. The weight of collected trees will still  be recorded and counted towards the borough’s recycling performance.

Councillor Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Sustainability, & Community Services, said: “Christmas waste places a huge strain on natural resources, drives deforestation, plastic pollution, and global warming, and represents an additional financial pressure for local councils.” 

“I am encouraging Hackney’s residents to reduce their waste over the Christmas period and recycle as much as possible.” 

Edmonton Waste Incinerator Pic: Glyn Baker for

In the past, compost from garden waste (Christmas trees included) was supplied to Hackney’s parks and gardens.  This was stopped by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) in October 2018, as waste is now sent to an in-vessel composting plant (IVC) in Cambridgeshire.  

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of North London Waste Authority, said: “Regrettably the provision of free compost, as a result of having a local IVC site, will be ceasing for the foreseeable future, but I would like to encourage as many north London residents as possible to make their own compost at home instead.” 

The local composting facility had closed due to the upcoming replacement of the Energy from Waste center in Edmonton, as it will, according to Loakes, come “to the end of its useable life in around 7 years”. 

Residents wishing to recycle their trees can put them in front of their homes or by their communal bins by 7 am on their rubbish and recycling day between 2-11 January.  

They can also take Christmas trees to Millfields Depot, Millfields Road, E5 0AR 8am-3pm Mondays-Fridays or 8am-12pm on Saturdays before  January 31.

Croydon and Tower Hamlets Council also provide kerbside Christmas tree collection, however without additional compost services.

Croydon residents can put their trees out on refuse collection days between Monday 14 January and Friday 25 January.

In Tower Hamlets, those who have food and garden waste collection can leave their tree out between 7-21 January 2019.

Trees left out separately in Lewisham will not be collected, however residents are free to chop their trees up and put them in their garden waste bins. Pieces need to be no bigger than 10cm thick and 50cm long.

Alternatively, Lewisham residents may choose to deposit their trees at one of the 11 locations the borough designates for tree recycling.


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