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San Francisco officials are reminding residents not to dump Christmas trees just anywhere on the street. Recology will come by to pick up trees starting next year during regular garbage pick up days.

Beginning Jan. 4 and through Jan. 15, residents can put trees out next to blue recycling bins the night before their regularly scheduled pickup day. Officials say discarded trees should be completely bare — all decorations, tinsel, lights, plastic bags and nails should be removed. Trees measuring 6 feet or taller need to be cut in half.

Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried said in a statement: 

“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.”

In normal years, city officials hold an annual event in front of City Hall to demonstrate the chipping process.

The City launches a Christmas tree-cycling program through a giant wood-chipper turning full trees into mulch at Civic Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, December 27, 2018.
Ching Wong/SFBay

Once the trees are chipped, they will be sent to Recology’s Blossom Valley Organics North to be converted into mulch that can be used for landscaping and weed prevention. 

Last year, the Department of Environment said The City collected 500 tons of trees. The department’s Director Debbie Rapahel said in statement:

“This holiday season, whether you’re celebrating with your household or sharing a meal with family over Zoom, don’t forget that you can keep the City clean and green by setting your tree out for recycling.”

City residents can find Recology’s holiday schedule on its website.

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. He has produced stories for the San Francisco Public Press and Ingleside Light. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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