Your real Christmas tree spruced up your home for the holidays––and now it’s time to say farewell to your fir by giving it an eco-friendly send-off to its second life as wood chips, mulch or compost. It’s super easy to be green by recycling your Christmas tree to help aid the growth of new plants. You can either prep your tree to be picked up in front of your house on your yard waste collection day, or you can drop it off at one of several locations. Read on for the details on where to recycle your Christmas tree.

photo: via Burst

Before You Recycle Your Tree
First, 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: Євгенія Височина via Unsplash

Curbside Collection Service
If you’re a San Diego County resident with yard waste collection service, you can have your tree picked up on your designated recycling collection day. Be sure to cut trees that are over four feet long in half, or cut as much as necessary so your tree fits into your recycling container. Note: don’t use paper or plastic bags to contain your yard waste/tree because the bags contaminate the mulch and compost that’s made from recycling this greenery.

You may also see below on where to haul your tree directly to Miramar Greenery for recycling.

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: Pezibear via Pixabay

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 Park, Mount Soledad Rd.

Logan Heights: Memorial Recreation Center, 2902 Marcy Ave.

Miramar: Miramar Landfill and Greenery Recycling, Convoy St. north of state Route 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 Field Recreation Center, 2525 Bacon St.

Otay Mesa/Nestor: Montgomery Waller Community Park (lower parking lot on the southeast corner of Palm Ave. & Beyer Blvd.)

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 17C 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
5180 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111
(inside the Miramar Landfill, North of state Route 52)

photo: Jared Lind via Unsplash

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.

––Beth Shea


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