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Throw away your Christmas tree: what does the law say?


Christmas and the holiday season are now behind us and you don't know what to do with your temporary woodland host? Where to throw your Christmas tree legally? Our answers.

It's hard not to have a twinge in the heart at the sight of all these fir trees left abandoned on street corners.

In addition to the fact that it is not authorized, more ecological and citizen solutions make it possible to give them a second life.

To discover

  • January: what vegetables and fruits are in season?

Can you throw your tree in the street?

It is strictly

forbidden to throw your tree

, discreetly or not, on the public highway.

This is the illegal dumping offence.

Is the Christmas tree considered waste?

The definition of waste, or garbage, is specified in article L541-1-1 of the Environmental Code as a substance or an object, more generally any movable property, which the holder disposes of or of which he has the intention or the obligation to get rid of.

The Christmas tree falls into the category of waste, when its owner wishes to get rid of it after the end of the year celebrations.

What is illegal waste dumping?

Illegal waste dumping consists of illegally dumping waste in a place that is not intended for this purpose.

For example, public road or private property.

Several reasons justify this legal framework.

Illegal dumping of household waste, fir trees or hazardous materials:

  • May have a direct impact on the environment.

  • May have an impact on public health.

  • May cause visual or olfactory pollution.

Is the illegal deposit of his tree on the public highway sanctioned?

The law firmly punishes the unauthorized dumping of waste.

Including the fact of abandoning his tree at the corner of the street.

The mayor or the president of the public establishment for inter-municipal cooperation EPCI, if the waste management powers have been transferred to him, has full jurisdiction to sanction the illegal dumping of waste by virtue of his special police powers conferred by:

  • Article L2224-16 of the CGCT.

  • Article L541-3 of the Environmental Code.

Administrative and/or criminal sanctions may be taken:

- Illegal dumping, including the abandonment of a Christmas tree on a sidewalk, is punishable by a fixed 4th class fine


article R634-2 of the Penal Code


article R644-2

in the event of obstruction of freedom of movement on public roads)


That is to say :

  • 135 euros if you pay immediately or within 45 days of the statement of offense or the sending of the notice of offense.

  • 375 euros if you pay after this 45-day period

  • 750 euros maximum, after referral to the judge of the police court, if you do not pay the fixed fine or if you dispute it.

- If the illegal dumping of the fir presents a danger to the environment

(article L541-3 of the aforementioned Environmental Code)

, the mayor may impose a fine of at most 15,000 euros and give notice to its author to carry out the operations necessary to comply with the regulations within a given period.

If the person concerned does not comply within the allotted time, the mayor has the possibility of applying one or more administrative sanctions:

  • A consignment.

  • Automatic execution of the prescribed measures.

  • The establishment of a daily penalty.

Read alsoNordmann fir: how to replant or preserve it?

Can you throw your Christmas tree in a forest?

No more than in the street, it is also forbidden to throw a conifer that has become cumbersome in a forest.

The National Forestry Office specifies on its website that this prohibited practice constitutes an offense punishable by a fine of up to 1,500 euros.

Contrary to what we might think, the cut fir tree and its needles have no interest for biodiversity.

Moreover, they can pose a polluting hazard to forest soils.

Read alsoCan you cut a fir tree in the forest?

Where to throw your Christmas tree legally?

If you don't know where to throw your tree legally, here are some civic and ecological ideas:

  • Take your conifer directly to the recycling center:

In the correct collection bin.

It will be recycled there with other green waste.

Consult the opening hours.

  • Drop off your conifer at town hall collection points:

Parks, squares, market places, streets, car parks, public gardens... It must be free of any Christmas decoration (baubles, light and electric garlands...).

  • Take your Christmas tree to a garden centre:

For example, until January 31, 2023, Botanic offers a 10 euro voucher for any tree brought back.

It will be turned into green compost.

Good to know

If you have exceeded the collection dates for conifers, some town halls allow you to deposit them with the household waste bin (bin with green lid).

They will then be collected with the conventional waste dump truck.

For example, this is what is planned in Paris.

Read alsoWhere do the trees sold at Christmas grow?

How to give a second life to your Christmas tree?

If you are tempted to do something useful for the planet, here are several ideas to give your tree a second life:

Lyon, Paris, Aix, Marseille, Bordeaux, Versailles, Nantes, Rennes… Many municipalities and conurbation communities collect natural fir trees after the holidays to recycle them.

They are then used as shredded material, mulch or can be used as fertilizer for garden plantations.

Check with your town hall for pick-up dates and points.

But also the places where you can directly put your tree.

Your municipality can make temporary tree parks available to you.

For example, there are 174 different ones in Paris.

If your tree is in a pot, the most ecological option is to replant it in your garden.

If you live near the coast of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, donate your tree to a special Christmas tree recycling collection.

Reduced to the state of branches, they will serve as sand traps to protect the dune from the phenomenon of erosion.

Cut out your tree.

It can serve you this winter or this summer as a firelighter for the firewood of your fireplaces or your barbecues.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-16

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