photo: Jared Lind via Unsplash

How do you give your Christmas tree a proper send-off for sprucing up your home for the holidays? When it’s time to say farewell to your fir, be eco-friendly and recycle it. Most trees are chipped and made into mulch to aid in the growth of new plants. It’s super easy to be green in this case since you can either prep your tree to be picked up in front of your house for recycling, or you can drop it off at one of several locations. Read on for the details.

Before You Recycle Your Tree
Firstly, prepare your real Christmas tree for recycling by removing all lights, tinsel, ornaments, garland, nails, wire, the tree stand and any additional decorations or non-organic materials. Basically, your tree should be as bare as it would be if it were in the forest.

Good to know: Flocked trees (with fake snow) are accepted for recycling through the city of San Diego, but artificial trees may not be recycled.

photo: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Curbside Collection Service
If you’re a San Diego County resident with yard waste recycling, you can have your tree picked up on your designated recycling collection day. You have two options depending on the type of recycle container you own. If you have your own manual container, place the tree in your bin and leave it on the curb for collection. If your tree is over four-feet tall, make sure to cut it in half. If you have one of the large, green 96-gallon containers provided by the city, cut your tree so it fits in the container and leave it on the curb on your greenery recycling pickup day.

Boy Scout Troop Tree Recycling 
Check with your local Boy Scout troop to see if they’re offering curbside pick-up to recycle Christmas trees in their vicinity. Many troops will ask for a small donation $5-$10 to pick-up your tree in front of your house and you simply leave the donation in an envelope attached to the tree.

photo: Manuel Will via Unsplash

Drop-Off Locations: Where to Take Your Tree to Be Recycled

From Dec. 26-Jan. 23 you can take your tree to be recycled (during daylight hours only) at the following locations:

Carmel Valley: Carmel Valley Recreation Center, 3777 Townsgate Dr., lower parking lot


Encanto: Cielo Dr. at Woodman St.

Golden Hill: Golden Hill Recreation Center, 2600 Golf Course Dr.

La Jolla: Kate Sessions Memorial Park, Soledad Road and Loring St.

Logan Heights: Memorial Recreation Center, 2902 Marcy Ave.

Miramar: The Greenery at the Miramar Landfill, Convoy Street north of Hwy. 52

Mission Bay: Sea World Dr. at Pacific Hwy.

Oak Park: Chollas Lake, 6350 College Grove Dr., in Gloria’s Mesa parking lot

Ocean Beach: Robb Athletic Field Recreation Center, 2525 Bacon St.

Otay Mesa/Nestor: Montgomery Waller Community Park (lower-west parking lot)

Rancho Bernardo: Rancho Bernardo Recreation Center, 18448 W. Bernardo Dr.

Rancho Penasquitos: Canyonside Recreation Center, 12350 Black Mountain Rd.

San Diego State University: Parking Lot D off Alvarado Rd.

Scripps Ranch: Scripps Ranch Recreation Center, 11454 Blue Cypress Dr.

Tierrasanta: De Portola Middle School, 11010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

University City: Swanson Pool, 3585 Governor Dr.

After Jan. 23rd you can recycle your tree and other household greens at Miramar Greenery, where trees are accepted throughout the year. The facility accepts regular trees and flocked trees at the following location:

Miramar Greenery
180 Convoy St.
San Diego, Ca 92111
(inside the Miramar Landfill, North of Hwy. 52)

Recycle or Donate Your Christmas Lights Too!

Visit Waste Free San Diego here and enter your zip code to see where you can donate or recycle holiday lights you no longer want. Enter the term “Christmas lights” in the “find an item” section to begin your search.

Where do you recycle your Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments!

––Beth Shea