San Francisco officials are reminding residents who purchased Christmas trees this year not to dump the trees anywhere they want.
The City’s trash and recycling collector, Recology, will pick up trees for free between Jan. 2 to Jan. 12. Residents should place their tree next to the blue recycling bin the night before their scheduled regular collection day. But before placing the tree outside, residents should make sure the tree is ready for pickup.
Charles Sheehan, spokesperson for the San Francisco Environment Department, said trees should be free of tinsel, ornaments and decorations. Trees over six feet tall should be cut in half. Residents should not place trees in plastic bags.
At this year’s chipping of Christmas trees event near City Hall (the event was on hiatus due to the pandemic), where crews ground Christmas trees, the Department of Public Works Director Carla Short said the trees will get a second life as mulch:
“If we can turn them into much, they can help compost and improve the soil.”
If residents do not get rid of their trees properly, the trees will end up in the landfill instead of being turned into mulch and compost, Short added.
Trees collected are sent to Recology’s Blossom Valley Organics North, near Vernalis, ground up, and transformed into mulch.
Recology spokesperson Robert Reed said mulch can be used for multiple purposes, including keeping weeds away from landscaping around office buildings and freeway intersections.
Capt. Jonathan Baxter, Fire Department spokesperson, also reminded residents to dispose of their trees during the appropriate collection time as keeping dry trees, especially near a heat source, will cause a fire.
On average, the city recycles 500 tons of trees annually, officials said.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation and occasionally City Hall and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.