It was a holly, jolly Christmas admiring your perfect pine, but now it’s time to give back to Mother Nature and recycle your Christmas tree. It’s super easy to be green by recycling your Christmas tree to help aid the growth of new plants. Read on for the details on how to best bid farewell to your fir via Christmas tree recycling. We even tell you how to recycle your Christmas lights.

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 if it was still 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.

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 yard waste 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.

Mr. Jingle's Tree Removal Service

Mr. Jingle's offers a tree removal service wherein they'll come to your house, remove the water from your tree, take your tree to be recycled and even vacuum inside before they go. Just make sure you've removed all of the ornaments and lights from your tree before they arrive.


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.

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

From Dec. 26-Jan. 23 San Diego city residents only can take Christmas trees 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, Mt. Soledad Rd.

Logan Heights: Memorial Recreation Center, 2902 Marcy Ave.

Miramar: Miramar Landfill & Greenery Recycling,Convoy St. (north of state Route 52)

Mission Bay: Sea World Dr. at Pacific Hwy.

Mountain View: Ocean View Blvd. at 40th St. (north side)

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: Tierrasanta Community Park, pool parking lot, 11220 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

University City: Standley Community Park, parking lot, 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)

The City of Escondido also offers two drop-off locations for tree recycling and curbside tree pick-up with your regular greens collection Dec 26.-Jan 11.

Look for the signs at each drop-off location and place your tree in the large recycling containers provided.

Kit Carson Park: 3333 Bear Valley Parkway, South entrance, first parking lot on right, across from adult softball complex

Jesmond Dene Park: 2401 North Broadway, parking lot next to ball fields

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.

You may also visit HolidayLEDS online to take part in their Christmas light recycling program. Simply ship them your lights anytime, year round, and they’ll email you a coupon to use at for LED Christmas lights once they receive your shipment and you complete the short Christmas light recycling form found here.

Send your lights via USPS, FedEx, or UPS Ground to:

Holiday LEDS Recycling
W227 N6225 Sussex Rd., Door #12
Sussex, WI 53089

––Beth Shea


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