Don’t dump your tree, mulch it for free


San Francisco residents unsure of how to get rid of their Christmas trees can rest assured Recology will collect and recycle the trees.

From Jan. 2 to Jan. 12, residents can place their trees next to their recycling bins on their designated collection day for Recology to recycle.

Residents should note that Recology will run a holiday schedule on the first week of the New Year where there will be no service on Jan. 1.

Debbie Raphael, director of the Department of the Environment, said residents need to take out everything off the tree, including ornaments, tinsel, stands and lights:

“Please, naked trees only.”

The department is also asking residents with trees taller than 6 feet to cut them in half.

Robert Reed, a spokesperson for Recology, said crews will first collect the recycling and then come around again to collect the tree.

The trees will have a second life.

Recology will put the trees through a chipper at its Blossom Valley Organics facility in Modesto, and then turn the chipped trees into mulch.

Reed said that mulch is important, especially during dry weather periods, because mulch holds the moisture in the soil:

“This recycling of Christmas trees is another way to do right by the environment.”

Public Works Deputy Director for Operations Larry Stringer stressed the importance for residents to put out their Christmas trees at their designated collection day:

“Putting the trees out in advance of that scheduled time, has us picking them up and then it gets put in with regular debris that we then have to turn around and separate out and still take the trees where they need to go.”

Residents can visit the Recology website for the holiday schedule.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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