Christmas trees are a staple of the holiday season. Sadly, many of them end up in landfills, but parishes throughout Louisiana are changing that trend. A number of parishes have programs that recycle trees to help protect our coast and engage volunteers.

Since the programs began, more than one million trees have been used to help our coast. Only green trees can be recycled. Artificial, flocked or painted trees are not eligible for recycling. Before dropping off or putting your tree at the location of your regular garbage collection, make sure to strip off any lights, tinsel, garland, ornaments, tree stands, and plastic bags. 


CRCL partnered with St. Charles Parish in 1989 to begin the first Christmas tree recycling program. It was so successful that 15 more coastal parishes joined the effort with funding from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR no longer funds the project, instead leaving it up to individual parishes to foot the bill.

The idea for using brush fences came from a Dutch Graduate Student, Roel Boumans. Brush fences are the main tool for using Christmas trees to help our coast. At its most basic, brush fences are built like a  corral for the trees, which holds the trees in place allowing sediment in the water column to settle outbuilding and buffer the shoreline from waves.


This was an important turning point for connecting science and volunteerism. This was the first major effort to get the public involved in coastal restoration.

Benefits of recycling Christmas trees

  • Slows erosion

  • Traps sediment

  • Provides a buffer to slow down waves

  • Keeps trees out of landfills 

Participating Parishes

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