SAN FRANCISCO — While many family traditions were still on pause this year due to the pandemic, one tradition continues to thrive in San Francisco: recycling and mulching Christmas trees. City officials from the Department of the Environment and San Francisco Public Works are reminding residents that their unadorned Christmas trees will be collected by Recology from January 3 to January 14, 2022.
Last January, San Francisco recycled more than 500 tons of Christmas trees, turning them into nutrient-rich mulch for landscaping projects.
“San Franciscans have a lot to be grateful for this year, especially when you think about our environmental successes,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the Department of the Environment. “We’re celebrating 25 years of our first-in-the-nation composting program, the launch of our Climate Action Plan to help us achieve net-zero carbon emissions, and continuing our time-honored tradition, now in its 35th year, of recycling household Christmas trees into fabulous mulch.”
Recycling your Christmas tree this year is easy: Simply place your tree next to your blue recycling bin the night before your regular collection day between January 3 and January 14. Please remember to remove all tinsel, decorations, nails, plastic bags, stands, and lights- anything that had been added to the natural tree. If your tree measures more than 6 feet tall, please cut it in half. Trees should not be put into a plastic bag. Trees will be collected curbside by a dedicated truck on your regularly scheduled collection day.
“The Christmas tree collection and recycling program makes it easy for people to participate; just set out your tree on your regularly scheduled trash pickup day and Recology crews will take care of the rest,” said interim Public Works Director Carla Short. “Not only does this ensure that discarded holiday trees will be put to good use as earth-friendly mulch but disposing of them properly also helps keep our neighborhoods clean and safe and reduces fire hazards.”
Collected Christmas trees will be chipped and turned into mulch at Blossom Valley Organics North, a Recology composting facility.
Christmas tree-cycling helps keep San Francisco green and clean by reducing material sent to landfill and preventing improper disposal and illegal dumping. Additionally, the holidays are the biggest food weeks of the year in San Francisco. Historically, the tons of food scraps generated in San Francisco jumps by 17 percent in November and December, which is why it is important that everyone reduce their food waste and continue to use their green composting bin for coffee grounds, eggshells, vegetable peelings, chicken bones and other food and green-waste scraps. While plans may be different for so many San Francisco households, it’s still as important as ever to put waste in the right bins.