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Recycle Christmas trees to avoid added fire danger and waste


Last updated 12/26/2018 at 3:04pm

All decorations are to be removed from a Christmas tree before it is recycled.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – San Diego County encouraged residents to recycle their Christmas trees as soon as they become dry to reduce fire danger and minimize the amount of holiday waste sent to the landfill. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage or placed against any structure.

Christmas trees become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out.

"The longer you keep a Christmas tree in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes," Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association, said.

The San Diego County Fire Authority also advised that residents do not put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Beyond the fire danger that dried-out trees pose, they can also contribute to the increase in waste sent to landfills during the holiday season, if not sent for recycling. According to the EPA, organic materials like Christmas trees, food and yard clippings are the number one material sent to landfills, composing two-thirds of the solid waste stream. Composting these materials preserves space in local landfills, reduces greenhouse gas generation and removes a potential fire hazard from the property.

Many local waste haulers offer curbside pickup of Christmas trees and wreaths, in addition to dozens of community drop-off sites. The Christmas trees are composted into mulch, which is then used to improve soil health at public parks, local farms and home landscapes and gardens.

The partnership between I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego County takes the hassle out of recycling a holiday tree by gathering all the "tree-cycling" options into one list.

Most waste haulers pick up Christmas trees during normal curbside collection days for a few weeks following the holiday.

EDCO advised customers that they can recycle Christmas trees by placing them inside their green waste cart on their regular collection day from Dec. 26 through Jan. 11, including flocked trees.

Waste Management customers can recycle Christmas trees by placing them inside their green waste cart on their regular collection day from Dec. 31 through Jan. 12; however, flocked trees will not be picked up.

In addition to curbside pickup, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 6, a Christmas tree drop-off site is located in the northwest parking lot at River Village, 5256 Mission Road, in Bonsall.

Visit or call (877) 713-2784 for more information or to find a local company that offers pickup.

To ensure the tree is recycled properly, trees taller than 4 feet should be cut in half. It is recommended that pieces be under 4 feet. Remove ornaments, garland, tinsel, lights, nails, tree bags and metal or plastic tree stands before recycling.

Submitted by San Diego County.


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