Sustain the Holiday Season by Giving Your Tree a Second Act
Residents can place their Christmas trees curbside the night before their collection day to ensure their trees are recycled instead of going to landfill.
San Francisco, CA – It’s that time of year, when we say goodbye to our Christmas trees! A San Francisco tradition will return this January, continuing an over 30-year legacy of holiday tree recycling. City officials from San Francisco Environment (SFE) and San Francisco Public Works are reminding residents that their unadorned Christmas trees will be collected by Recology from January 2 to January 12, 2024. Each year around this time, due to the efforts of San Francisco residents, the City recycles 500 tons of trees on average.
“San Franciscans care about the environment and our future. Our residents continue the holiday spirit when they recycle Christmas trees. Recycling trees is a gift to Mother Nature that keeps on giving for years to come.” said Tyrone Jue, Director of San Francisco Environment Department. “This is not only a festive tradition, but also a smart way to reduce waste, decease emissions, and return trees to a natural environment where they can contribute to a vibrant ecosystem.”
Recycling your Christmas tree is easy! Simply place your tree next to your blue recycling bin the night before your scheduled collection day between January 2 and January 12.
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.
“We never want to see old Christmas trees left out on the sidewalk willy-nilly for extended periods of time where they can become hazards,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Carla Short. “San Francisco’s tree-cycling initiative helps keep our neighborhoods clean and safe by allowing residents to dispose of their old trees properly and put them to good use as mulch that can be used for landscaping.”
Collected Christmas trees will be transported to Recology’s Blossom Valley Organics North, near Vernalis, where the trees are ground up and converted into mulch. San Francisco’s Christmas tree mulch is used to buffer landscaping surrounding office buildings and retail stores around the Bay Area.
“500 tons is a whole lot of Christmas trees. Let’s recycle them by turning them into mulch, a useful product. Put your tree at the curb, next to your bins, on your scheduled collection day. For the first two weeks of January, Recology will pick up your Christmas tree and make sure it gets recycled,” said Robert Reed, Spokesperson for Recology.
The holidays are the largest recycling weeks of the year in San Francisco. Christmas tree-cycling helps keep San Francisco green and clean by reducing material sent to the landfill and preventing improper disposal and illegal dumping.
“A dry Christmas tree that is dying, combined with any heat source, is a fire waiting to happen. Christmas tree fires are more common than you’d think, and you want to avoid that dangerous situation by disposing of your Christmas tree immediately,” said Captain Jonathan Baxter, from the San Fransisco Fire Department. “This opportunity to recycle your tree not only provides a source of safe disposal, but it also helps the environment in preventing potential fires. Let’s enter the new year together #SFFDsafe.”
The City also wants to remind residents during the season of giving to properly sort their recyclables and utilize the blue recycling bin for excess wrapping paper and flattened cardboard boxes. Ribbons, twines, and Styrofoam packing cubes go in the landfill bin.