Think Fargo, but without all the blood.

San Francisco officials brought a little piece of North Dakota to City Hall plaza on Tuesday for its Christmas “treecycling” event.

Enter the wood-chipping machine. To demonstrate what will happen to trees gathered from curbs starting Jan. 2, officials shaved about a dozen of them into wood bits, so they can be converted into energy. The wood chips are cooked to create steam that generates electricity.

“You can’t help in the holiday season but to think about that scene from Fargo, which is kind of terrifying. This is a little more tame, and it smells a lot better,” U.S. EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld said at City Hall.

San Francisco’s Christmas tree recycling program is in its 25th year. Last year, the city collected 514 tons of wood chips.

In San Francisco and Oakland, trees will be picked up between Jan. 2-13, on regular collection days. San Jose residents have until Feb. 3 to put their trees out on garbage-collection days.

Watch this video, and you’ll know Christmas is really really over.


Vinnee Tong

Vinnee Tong is an independent public radio producer and reporter. She works as an on-call producer at KQED, and her reporting work has aired on KQED's The California Report, KQED News and KAZU public radio. Vinnee is most interested in reporting on communities that don't get covered all that much, whoever they may be. Before getting into radio, Vinnee worked as a print journalist at The Associated Press, The New York Sun, The Salinas Californian and Red Herring magazine. Vinnee's work has won awards from The New York Press Club, The Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and The Radio Television Digital News Association.

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