How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas TreesWhere and How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas Trees in California in January 2017

How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas Trees

In many urban and suburban areas, Christmas trees are collected from curbside during the first 2 weeks in January. Be sure to remove all  remove all lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, stands,  other NON-Organic decorative materials and other materials that are not part of the original tree. This includes tree stands also.  Flocked trees are usually accepted, but not artificial trees. Large trees (larger than the standard 6 - 7 ft tree) may need to be cut in half to be acceptable by your garbage hauler. But scrroll down this page for more specific information and local links.

What happens to the trees? In most cases, the trees are chipped and made into a mulch which is usually made available, free to city or county residents. Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.

Tips: Always follow the links (usually the name of the city or county) below for updated information, as these agencies often wait until the last minute to change dates or update their information (it's government, remember?). If your area is Grinding Christmas trees into mulchnot specifically mentioned below, contact your trash collection agency and inquire!

Related information:

See this page for local options to easily recycle your Christmas holiday lights

Click here for the list of winter sleigh ride locations!

See our easy recipes to make a Chocolate Yule log and click here to make your own low-fat, low calorie but delicious Egg Nog! Then come back to our other website in March to find a local Easter Egg Hunt for your children!

California: Where and How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

If you do not find your area below (which is unlikely, this is a fairly comprehensive list), click here to contact your city or county's recycling coordinator directly.

Christmas Tree Recycling Programs by County and City in California

  • Alameda County -  provides curbside pick-up of Christmas trees and yard-trimmings. Call the county's recycling hotline at 877-STOPWASTE or find your city's specific recycling program.
  • Contra Costa County  - (complete city - by city listing)  Also, RSS customers see this page (look about halfway down the page) - Most  cities in Contra Costa pick-up Christmas trees curbside.
  • City of Corona - For two weeks after Christmas (through Friday, January 8), your discarded Christmas trees can be recycled curbside by placing them inside your green waste barrel or simply alongside the curb on trash day. The collection of trees for recycling is free. Please prepare your trees by removing all decorations including tinsel, lights, ornaments and tree stands. Flocked trees will be collected but cannot be recycled. Please do not place your tree in a bag or a net sleeve. Also note, trees over six feet tall must be cut in half. For more information, please call Waste Management of the Inland Empire at (800) 423-9986. Corona WM will collect and recycle Christmas trees for the first two weeks following Christmas on your regular collection day. Trees longer than six feet must be cut in half. Please remove all tinsel, metal ornaments and metal stands from trees. Flocked trees will be collected but cannot be recycled.
  • El Dorado County -  First, remove all of the ornaments, lights, garland, and tinsel, as well as the stand. Then you can recycle your bare, real Christmas tree  through one of these programs:
    - Between January 3 and 17, you can drop off your Christmas tree for free recycling at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF), located at 4100 Throwita Way, Placerville. The MRF is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    - If you have curbside service, Christmas trees will be picked up from the curb during your yard waste collection week. Please cut the tree into pieces and bundle the pieces with string or twine. Bundles should be no more than 3 feet long and 18 inches in diameter. Place the bundles next to your yard waste cart.
    - Check with your Community Services District (CSD). Some of the CSD areas will provide tree chipping events after the holidays.
    Residents of Cameron Park Community Namiroz | iStock | Thinkstock Services District may drop off Christmas trees between December 26th and February 14th at Cameron Park Lake, 2989 Cambridge Rd, in the lower paved parking lot (look for signs).   The park is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to dusk. Trees may be dropped off free of charge. These trees will be chipped and recycled. Please be sure to remove all lights and decorations. If you need assistance, or just do not have the time, please use the Boy Scouts troops 550 and 700. They will be leaving information on your door.
  • Glendale, CA - The Integrated Waste Management Division has an easy, convenient and free program to recycle Christmas trees from December 26 through mid-January (the 16th in 2016) (excluding January 1st). Call the Integrated Waste Management Division at (818) 548-3916 or view/download the Daily Collection Areas to determine your refuse collection day. To Recycle Your Tree:
    Remove all ornaments, decorations, buckets, bags, stands, bars, nails and most tinsel. Flocked and trees coated with fire retardant are acceptable. Cut trees greater than eight feet tall in half. Place the tree at the curb or in the alley for pick-up on your refuse collection day.
    Single Family Homes: Place trees next to refuse on service day.
    Multi-Family Residents and Businesses: Place trees together in the parkway by 7 am of the collection day (beginning at 7:00 pm the night before); Do NOT place Christmas trees in refuse collection rooms.
    Give the Earth a gift by recycling your Christmas tree after the holiday season. The Integrated Waste Management Division has an easy, convenient and free program to recycle Christmas trees from January 2, 2017 through January 20, 2017. Call the Integrated Waste Management Division at (818) 548-3916 or view/download the Daily Collection Areas to determine your refuse collection day.
    To see the map of the collection area schedule days, click here.
  • Los Angeles City - The City of LA Bureau of Sanitation has CURBSIDE collection for Christmas trees. If your Christmas tree is too big to cut and place it inside the green waste bin, simply place the tree (stripped of ornaments, etc.)  next to your green waste bin on collection day. If you want to use your green bin to recycle Christmas tree:
    REMOVE all ornaments, decorations, tinsels, and stand from the tree
    CUT tree in pieces to fit into the green bin, and
    PLACE the tree pieces inside the green bin for regular pick-up on collection day. Collected Christmas trees will be recycled into compost and mulch.
    Residents of multifamily buildings (Multi-Family Residential Recycling Program Participation (MFRRP)) are requested to place their Christmas trees at the curbside on the collection day in your neighborhood. Whether you are serviced by LA Sanitation or a private hauler, we will pick up your tree on your neighborhood's scheduled collection day. Please remove all ornaments, decorations, tinsel, and the stand from tree. Click this link and enter your address to find the scheduled collection day in your neighborhood. Visit the City website for collection day information. You may also recycle trees by bringing them to one of the drop-off sites operated by the City. Click here for drop-off locations of the City's program as well as more detailed information.
    Recreation and Park locations and participating Fire Stations: Recreation & Park will accept Christmas trees for ONE DAY ONLY (Sunday, January 3, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Some locations will not be open. Check the listing of locations on this page. There will be NO giveaways and we will NOT be accepting holiday wrapping and packaging material at sites. Please remove all ornaments, decorations, tinsels, and stand from tree.
  • Los Angeles County area - See this page dedicated to Christmas tree recycling in Los Angeles (City and County). There's too much to fit here.
  • Marin County - picks up Christmas trees through the month of January on the day it normally collects yard waste.  Trees over 6 feet tall, call 415-485-5646, or bring the tree to the Marin Resource and Recovery Center. Many local fire stations also collect Christmas trees. Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Las Gallinas Valley, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Ross Valley (Sleepy Hollow and Oak Manor): Trees will be collected at the curb on your regular yard waste pickup day during the month of January. One pickup per residence. If trees are greater than 6 feet in length, please cut them in half. Remove all metal stands, plastic tree bags, and ornaments. Flocked trees will not be accepted.
  • Napa County - and also see this Boy Scouts-sponsored curbside Christmas tree pickup!  Recycle your old Christmas lights at our Napa office in December and January. Click here for year-round options. The annual Napa Valley District Boy Scouts Christmas Tree Pickup and Recycling Day comes to Napa on the Saturday, January 7th, 2017. Please have your tree on the curb by 9:00am on Saturday morning. Please DO NOT set out your tree earlier in the week, since tree collection will not take place until Saturday. Trees must be free of ornaments, nails, tinsel, stands, and metal spikes. All are contaminants or safety hazards. A voluntary donation of $10 per tree is suggested and appreciated. Please do not leave money on the tree!
    Boy Scouts will come to your door. Please leave a check made out to "Boy Scouts of America" in an envelope at your door. Please note: Customers in Napa County who miss the January Boy Scout tree pickup may place their tree out for collection on their normal service day beginning the following Monday. Please follow the above tree preparation guidelines and cut trees over 8′ in half. Flocked trees are accepted. Wreaths, pumpkins, and other holiday greenery go in the compost cart.
    At our Napa Recycling and Composting Facility, we turn all your holiday greenery into compost, mulch or fuel for renewable energy.
  • Riverside County - Most areas have a curbide pickup service. Most trash haulers will collect Christmas trees curbside for two weeks after Christmas if you put the stripped tree, cut into 4 ft lengths, next to the green waste container on your regular pick-up day.  or those who don't have a curbside pickup program, there are several drop-off locations that will accept up to three residential prepared trees for free for two weeks after Christmas:
    B.P. John Recycling, 28700 Mathews Road, Romoland
    Burrtec Compost Facility, 87-011 Landfill Road, Coachella
    Burrtec Recycle Center, 41-800 Corporate Way, Palm Desert
    Burrtec/Robert A. Nelson Transfer Station, 1830 Agua Mansa Road, Riverside
    California Biomass, 83-109 Avenue 62, Thermal
    California Department of Fish & Game, 17041 S. Lovekin Blvd., Blythe
    A. Lua Wood Recycling, 18938 Mermack Ave., Lake Elsinore
    Riverside County Badlands Landfill, 31125 Ironwood Ave., Moreno Valley
    Riverside County Lamb Canyon Landfill, 16411 Lamb Canyon Road, Beaumont
    SA Recycling, 29250 Rio Del Sol, Thousand Palms
    If you would like more information on this program, please call Riverside County Waste Management Department (951) 486-3200 or visit the website at www.rivcowm.org.
  • Sacramento County: January 7 and 8, 2017, Limit 5 trees per vehicle*. Please remove ornaments, tinsel, lights, tree stand, and nails. Flocked trees will be accepted. *Note: Loads in excess of 5 trees will only be accepted at: Elder Creek Recovery & Transfer Station, Kiefer Landfill, and the North Area Recovery Station. Sacramento County
    Limit 5 trees per vehicle*.
    In Sacramento:
    Elder Creek Recovery & Transfer Station
    8642 Elder Creek Road (Jackson Hwy, south on Florin Perkins Road, left on Elder Creek Road)
    8 am - 3 pm, January 7 and January 8
    Kiefer Landfill
    12701 Kiefer Blvd (Jackson Hwy, north on Grant Line Road, right on Kiefer Blvd)
    8:30 am - 4:30 pm, January 7 and 8
    North Area Recovery Station
    4450 Roseville Road (Hwy 80, north on Watt Ave, left on Roseville Road, inside Recovery Station)
    8 am - 6 pm, January 7 and 8
    SMUD Corporation Yard
    6100 Folsom Blvd (just off Hwy 50)
    8 am - 3:30 pm, January 7 only
    Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station
    8491 Fruitridge Road (Jackson Hwy., south Florin Perkins Road, right on Fruitridge Road)
    8 am - 5 pm, January 7
    Also accepting trees Dec. 26 - Jan. 6, Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm
    In Folsom:
    Dan Russell Rodeo Arena
    Rodeo Park (end of Stafford Street next to the Rodeo Arena)
    9 am - 3 pm, January 7 only
  • San Diego County - Annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program from December 26 through January 23rd. This year's program will provide 16 drop-off locations available to residents only. To recycle a Christmas tree after January 23rd, see the Miramar Greenery which accepts trees throughout the year.
    Curbside collection (For residents with yard waste collection only): Manual container customers using their own bins should place trees on the curb for collection on your regular greenery recycling pickup day. Trees over four feet in length should be cut in half. Automated container customers using the large, green 96-gallon bin provided by the city should cut their trees to fit into the automated container for pickup on collection day. Both green and flocked trees (fake snow) are accepted. For Greenery, curbside, and drop-off sites, all tree stands, lights, ornaments, tinsel, and other tree decorations must be removed. No artificial trees. Please do not illegally dump any other items at the drop-off locations. Both green and flocked trees (fake snow) are accepted. For Greenery, curbside, and drop-off sites, all tree stands, lights, ornaments, tinsel, and other tree decorations must be removed. No artificial trees. Please do not illegally dump any other items at the drop-off locations.
    Christmas tree recycling fliers: PDF in English; PDF in Spanish.
    Drop-off Locations
    Carmel Valley - Carmel Valley Recreation Center, 3777 Townsgate Drive, lower parking lot
    Encanto - Cielo Drive at Woodman Street
    Golden Hill - Golden Hill Recreation Center, 2600 Golf Course Drive
    La Jolla - Kate Sessions Memorial Park, Soledad Road and Loring Street
    Logan Heights - Memorial Recreation Center, 2902 Marcy Avenue
    Miramar - The Greenery at the Miramar Landfill, Convoy Street north of Highway 52
    Mission Bay - Sea World Drive at Pacific Highway
    Oak Park - Chollas Lake, 6350 College Grove Drive, in Gloria's Mesa parking lot
    Ocean Beach - Robb Athletic Field Recreation Center, 2525 Bacon Street
    Otay Mesa/Nestor - Montgomery Waller Community Park (lower-west parking lot)
    Rancho Bernardo - Rancho Bernardo Recreation Center, 18448 W. Bernardo Drive
    Rancho Penasquitos - Canyonside Recreation Center, 12350 Black Mountain Road
    San Diego State University - Parking Lot D off Alvarado Road
    Scripps Ranch - Scripps Ranch Recreation Center, 11454 Blue Cypress Drive
    Tierrasanta - De Portola Middle School, 11010 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
    University City - Swanson Pool, 3585 Governor Drive
  • San Francisco - See this page for much more information about recycling your Christmas tree in the San Francisco area!
    In general: San Francisco residents and businesses may recycle their Christmas trees in several ways:
    1) Curbside Pick Up during the first 2 weeks of January (On the resident's regular recycling day)
    2) Drop Off at Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council from December 26-January 12 at 780 Frederick St. or
    3) Drop Off at Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling from December 26-January 11 at 900 7th St./Berry
    Instructions: No flocked trees (sprayed with fake snow),
    Remove any metal or plastic base (wood bases are okay)
    Remove all lights, tinsel and other decorations
    No trees in plastic bags

    Also see the Sunset Scavenger Curbside Program, San Francisco, CA 94134. Phone: (415) 330-1300. Open: Please call for their curbside collection schedule. San Francisco Residents can also be taken to the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council until January 17, or Recology Golden Gate and Recology San Francisco until January 15.

  • San Mateo County -  curbside collection of trees through January. Each city has different pick-up days and times, click on the link at left to check their listing to find yours. There are also six recycling centers that will accept trees. Allied Waste of San Carlos, and Ox Mountain Landfill will accept "flocked" trees, those with artificial snow on them. Flocked trees cannot be composted at other facilities.
    Do not bag your tree. If you do, it will not be recycled. Place trees at the curbside on your regular yard waste or compost service day. Remove stands, lights, tinsel, ornaments and other decorations. Cut them into shorter lengths if they are larger than the lengths specified below in the how to prepare column. Multi-family residents must call Customer Service to arrange a location on site for tree pick up.
  • Santa Barbara County - Please remove all ornaments, tinsel and stands before recycling. Trees with stands and flocked trees cannot be recycled and will not be accepted. Please cut trees over 6 feet in half. South Coast: Customers of MarBorg Industries may place trees in or near their green waste containers or next to their trash containers on their regular trash collection days.  In the City of Carpinteria, customers of E.J. Harrison & Sons may place their Christmas trees in or near their green waste carts or next to their trash containers on January 3rd.  Owners and managers of multi-unit dwellings should call their waste hauler for Christmas tree recycling details. North County: Customers of Waste Management and the City of Santa Maria may place their Christmas trees next to their trash containers by 6:00 a.m. on collection days from January 7th through 11th. Customers in the City of Lompoc may place their trees next to their trash containers by 7:00 a.m. on January 7th. If you don't have trash service or would like to get rid of your tree earlier than the collection date for your area, take it to one of the locations here: Click here for locations, updated information and more details.
  • Santa Clara County - Mountain View will pick-up curbside trees from Christmas Day through January 27th from single-family properties. Recology (PDF) will pick-up Christmas trees in Cupertino throughout the month of January; trees cannot be larger than 5 feet tall. Gilroy will pick-up Christmas trees that are cut into three-foot pieces. Check your October bill for specific dates. Los Gatos will collect Christmas trees under 6 feet on normal collection days. For more information call West Valley Collection and Recycling at 408-283-9250.
    Other cities have yard-trimming programs.
  • Santa Cruz - (county website) but there's more information here.
  • Santa Rosa County - takes Christmas trees for recycling until Janaury 16 at the locations below. The trees will be chipped into mulch, which will be available at a date to be announced through Keep Santa Rosa Beautiful in Milton.
    Clean Community System/Green-Up Nursery, 6758 Park Ave. in Milton.
    Jay Transfer Station on Transfer Station Road in Jay.
    Pace Volunteer Fire Department at 4773 Pace Patriot Blvd. in Pace.
    Navarre Beach Boat Ramp Parking Lot Recycle Area on Gulf Boulevard in Navarre Beach.
    Tiger Point Recreation Area in Gulf Breeze, east of Walmart.
    Free recycling of electronics is available at the Central Landfill's Household Hazardous Waste Center at 6337 Da Lisa Road in Milton.
  • Solano County - Most cities in Solano County have curbside pick-up on specific dates in early January. Find your town's dates. Programs take place during the end of December and early January each year. Watch for details in your local newspaper. Recycle your old Christmas lights at Napa Recycling & Waste Services 820 Levitin Way - American Canyon 707 255-5200, Daily 8am-4pm (Closed Holidays) .
  • Sonoma County, California - Christmas trees are recycled into mulch and compost. Holiday tree Compost and mulch made from Christmas trees is highly prized for its acidic qualities. Please take advantage of one of the four convenient recycling methods available to you.Remember that in order for your tree to be recycled, it must be free of lights, decoration, tinsel and stand (metal or wood). Flocked trees will not be accepted. Residents have four options for recycling their Christmas tree this year:
    1. Cut the tree to fit in your yard waste container or have your whole tree picked up at the curb (select areas). Put your tree in your yard waste container and place at the curb on your regular yard waste collection day. The tree MUST be CUT TO FIT inside the container (4 foot or less sections, please). Trees sticking out of the container can interfere with the lifting arm on the truck. Thank you for your help. Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Windsor and unincorporated Sonoma County have whole tree collection. Place your unflocked tree beside your yard waste container on your regular collection day the dates of:
    Cloverdale January 4, 2, 2017 - January 6, 2017
    Cotati January 9, 2017 - January 13, 2017
    Healdsburg December 26, 2016 - January 6, 2017
    Petaluma December 26, 2016 - December 30, 2016
    Rohnert Park January 9, 2017 - January 20, 2017
    Santa Rosa January 4, 2, 2017 - January 13, 2017
    Windsor December 26, 2016 - December 30, 2016
    Unincorporated Please visit www.unicycler.com  after December 15, 2016 for updated information.
    Outside of listed days, place tree in yard waste container; cut the tree to fit. Please do not bag your tree.
    2. Call (707) 565-3333 for an appointment to have a non-profit in your area pickup your tree. Call before Friday, January 6, 2017 to arrange for pickup. The suggested donation for this service is $7 for trees less than 6 feet and $10 for larger trees.
    3. Special whole tree collection for Rohnert Park multifamily complexes: Managers of multifamily complexes in Rohnert Park can arrange to have their tenant's trees picked up by special arrangement. Contact Latisha Richardson at Rohnert Park Disposal at (707) 586-2283 or email latisha@unicycler.com.
    4. Free drop-off locations throughout the county. Residents may take up to two trees to any of the following drop-off locations listed on this page at no charge.

If you miss your free pickup:

California Christmas Tree Recycling - has a service for which you must pay - Click here there to reserve your pick-up online with this easy form. They say they will contact you within 24 hours with a confirmation and price quote. or Call today to book your 4 hour time slot. Los Angeles (310) 584-6589 San Fernando Valley (818) 986-1300 San Diego County (858) 433-0359 Prices start at $25 and go up with the size of the tree.

  • Note about Monterey Pine disposal: take precautions when disposing of your Christmas trees this year to help control the spread of pine pitch canker, an incurable disease that has killed thousands of Monterey pine trees. Pine pitch canker, a fungal disease recently introduced to California, causes dieback and mortality in native and ornamental pine trees. It may also infect Monterey pine Christmas trees. While every attempt is made to sell only disease-free Christmas trees, some trees could harbor the disease without showing symptoms. Since there is no known cure for pitch canker, limiting its spread is the key to prevention. The disease is present in 16 coastal and adjacent inland California counties from Mendocino to San Diego. Bark beetles, which carry the fungus, primarily infest Monterey and Bishop pines but also feed and breed on inland forest trees such as Ponderosa pine. As yet, the disease has not been found in the Sierras. It does not infect humans, pets or other plants.

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