Many cities and counties compost Christmas trees. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Don’t go over your city or county’s Christmas tree composting/recycling cliff. Find out when and how to get rid of that tree with our annual guide.

No county or city accepts decorated trees for curbside pickup, although some Boy Scout troops do for a charge. Most counties compost their trees. We’ve included city information when possible.

Alameda County

Albany 510-613-8710 Holiday trees are collected through the month of January at no charge. Place your tree at the curb next to your green waste, recycling and trash carts on your regular pickup day. Trees taller than 6 feet must be cut into lengths of 6 feet or smaller. Remove all tinsel, ornaments, nails and tree stands. Green trees only; flocked trees will not be accepted. After Jan. 31, trees will not be collected curbside, unless they are cut up and properly placed in your green waste cart.

Berkeley 510-981-7270 Through Jan. 31 you can place your holiday tree at the curb on your normal collection day.Trees must be cut to a maximum of 5 feet tall. You may also choose to drop off your holiday tree at the Berkeley Transfer Station at no charge during the month of January. Businesses and residents of multifamily buildings who don’t normally have plant debris service can call 311 (or 510-981-7270) for the plant debris service day for their street. After January, you can cut up your tree to fit in your plant debris cart, or you can bring it to the Transfer Station for the minimum compost fee of $23. Please remove all lights, decorations, tinsel, bags and tree stands. Flocked trees and trees treated with fire retardant are OK.

Dublin 925-479-9545 You may place your holiday tree at the curb by 5:30 a.m. on your regular service day through Jan. 3, 2014. A truck exclusively for recycling holiday trees will collect the trees. Only clean trees will be taken (no flocking or tinsel). Please cut trees down to 4 feet or less in height. Please remove bases or stand.

You may place your holiday tree into your Organics Cart along with acceptable yard trimmings anytime after the holiday. Your cart will be emptied on your regular service day. Only clean trees are accepted (no flocking or tinsel). Tree branches and stumps must be cut up in lengths that will allow the lid to securely close. Amador Valley Industries can pick up your non-recyclable holiday tree. Please call 925-479-9545 to arrange for disposal of your flocked or tinseled tree. An additional fee may apply, unless you use one of the three Large Item Collections available to you per year at no cost.

Emeryville 510-613-2104 Trees are collected curbside on regular collection day during the month of January. Place your tree at the curb next to your green waste, recycling and trash carts on your regular pickup day. Trees taller than 6 feet must be cut into lengths of 5 feet to 6 feet or smaller. Remove all tinsel, ornaments, nails and tree stands. Green trees only. Flocked trees will not be accepted. After Jan. 31, trees will not be collected curbside without additional charge unless they are cut up and properly placed into your green waste cart.

Fremont 510-657-3500 Remove all decorations, tinsel, lights, nails, and tree stands prior to pickup or drop-off. Trees that have any of these items are not compostable. Trees that contain fire retardant or flocking are not compostable. Curbside tree pickup is from Dec. 30, 2013, to Jan. 10, 2014, on scheduled collection day. Remember, collection is one day late Jan 1. This program is only for residents who have a green organics cart from Republic Services. There is no extra fee for composting your tree at the curb and there is no need to call to request this service. Leave your tree out using one of the methods listed here. For apartment/condo/town homeowners and managers, see here.

Hayward 510-537-5500 The garbage collection service will pick up Christmas trees for recycling during the first two weeks of January. Residents can recycle their cut-up tree in their green cart at any time. Residents must remove tinsel, ornaments, nails and tree stands; cut trees that are more than 5 feet in length into 5 foot pieces, and set the tree at the curb next to their refuse and yard trimmings carts. After the 2-week period, trees set out at the curb, but not in the green cart, can be picked up for a fee, but the trees will not be recycled.

Oakland 510-638-2303 “Snow”-flocked trees cannot be recycled, and must be put inside your garbage container. Free pickup for 1-4 units.

Residences:

  • First 2 weeks of January — Place your clean, green holiday tree at the curb, next to your green yard trimmings cart on your regularly scheduled yard trimmings collection day; remove all tinsel, ornaments, nails and tree stands (metal or wood); place trees curbside by 6 a.m. on collection day and no earlier than one day before. Trees must be no more than 5 feet tall. Cut taller trees in half.
  • After first 2 weeks of January — Recycle your clean, green holiday tree in your green yard trimmings cart at any time. Lid must close. Take clean, green holiday trees to the Davis Street Transfer Station for recycling at no charge, limit one tree per household.

Free drop-off or fee-for-service appointment pickup for 5-or-more unit residences: Tenants may take clean, green holiday trees to the Davis Street Transfer Station (510-638-2303) for recycling at no charge, limit one tree per household. Property owners/managers may call Waste Management of Alameda County (510-613-8700) to get a price quote for services and to schedule pickup.

Pleasanton 925-846-2042 Pleasanton Garbage Service will pick up Christmas trees that are placed at the curb on Saturday, Jan. 11. Trees must be placed curbside the night before pickup and cut in 4-foot sections. Please remove stands, tinsel, ornaments and lights. Pleasanton Garbage Service is not responsible for any decorations that are left on the tree. Or, you may place your Christmas tree cut in 2-foot sections inside your green waste container and it will be picked up on your regular pickup day. Pleasanton residents may also bring Christmas trees to the Transfer Station at 3110 Busch Rd. free of charge until Feb. 1, 2014.

Boy Scout Troop 941 in Pleasanton will hold its annual Christmas Tree Pickup and Recycling Day on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. For more information or to place a reservation online, please visit Boy Scout Troop 941 at www.Troop941.Org.

San Leandro Contact your service provider for more info. Place your Christmas tree curbside on your regularly scheduled collection day during the first two weeks in January.  Remember to remove all tinsel and ornaments, cut your tree down if it is larger than 6 feet and set it out on the curb with your yard trimmings cart for collection. To avoid disposal problems, do not purchase trees that are flocked or chemically treated.  Trees will be recycled into mulch for use in landscaping applications.

Union City 510-471-3850 Tri-CED will be collecting trees until Jan. 31. On your regular collection day, simply set your tree at the curb or place inside the green yard waste cart. Trees will be hauled to the compost facility, where they will be used to make beneficial mulch and compost. No flocked, bagged, excessively heavy or tinseled holiday trees. Remove lights, ornaments, tinsel and other trimmings from branches. Remove tree stands, metal or wood. If it fits, place the tree inside the green yard waste cart for collection on your service day. If your tree does not fit inside your yard waste cart, please cut it in half, place half inside the yard waste container and the other half in the gutter next to your cart.

You can also drop off trees at Tri-CED Recycling Center, 33377 Western Ave., Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Contra Costa County

Pittsburg 925-473-0180 Please remove all tinsel, flocking, ornaments and tree stand. At the curb: please place your Christmas tree at the curb, on your yard waste day, and we will pick it up for you at no additional charge. If your tree is 5 feet or longer, please cut it in half. Our trucks cannot pick up trees 5 feet or larger. Or take it to the Recycling Center & Transfer Station (RCTS) located at 1300 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg. RCTS is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day only). Christmas trees will be taken at no charge — limit one tree per vehicle. For more information, please visit our website www.pittsburgrecycling.com.

San Ramon 925-837-3356 Boy Scouts of America Annual Fundraiser Tree Pickup Day is Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. For a $5 donation, local Boy Scouts will pick up your tree.  Visit www.sanramonscouts.org, e-mail sanramontrees@yahoo.com, or call 925-362-8960.

Waste Management yard trimmings/green waste cart: Cut tree into lengths that will easily fit into cart and allow lid to completely close. Place tree pieces into cart anytime after holidays. Special one-time tree pickup week of Jan. 6, 2014. Set out tree at curb for pickup by a special truck. Cut larger trees into lengths of 6 feet or less.

Marin County 415-456-2601 Christmas trees will be picked up throughout January at the curb on regularly scheduled pickup days. Trees more than 6 feet tall must be cut in half. Marin Sanitary customers can also drop off up to two  Christmas trees for free at the Marin Resource Recovery Center at 565 Jacoby St., San Rafael. There is a charge for flocked trees.

Larkspur Cut in two pieces and place at the curb on your normal green can day. Be sure to remove the stand and anything that isn’t recyclable. Trees can also be dropped off at  either Piper Park or Niven Park in the designated drop-off areas. Remove the stand and anything that isn’t recyclable.

Mill Valley Trees will be picked up on regular days throughout January. Trees more than 5 feet tall must be cut in half.

Napa County 707-255-5200 Napa Valley District Boy Scouts will pick up trees left on the curb by 9 a.m. on Jan. 4. They ask for a donation of $5. You can also recycle old Christmas lights at the Napa Recycling and Waste Services office.

San Francisco County 415-330-1300 Residents can place trees at the curb next to waste bins on regularly scheduled pickup days from Jan. 2 to Jan. 15. Trees taller than 6 feet need to be cut in half.

San Mateo County Place trees curbside on normal day of your yard waste pickup during the month of January. Tree length maximum sizes vary depending on the recycling company. Check here for your pickup requirements. Residents without regular trash pickup can drop off their trees at several locations.

Santa Clara County

Campbell West Valley Collection and Recycling will pick up two trees per residence on the curb during regular service until Jan. 25. Trees must be less than 5 feet tall.

Cupertino 408-725-4020 Curbside pickup is available. Trees must be undecorated and cut into 4-foot lengths. Residents can leave their trees on the curb and they will be picked up with yard waste.

Unincorporated Cupertino 408-918-4640 Curbside pickup is available during the month of January. Place undecorated tree by the yard waste bin on pickup day; small trees may be placed inside the bin. Apartment residents should place all trees in a central location and call  to arrange a pickup.

Gilroy 408-842-3358 Curbside pickup is available. Cut trees into 3-foot by 3-foot sections and place on curb next to bin. Also, trees may be cut into small pieces and placed inside of yard waste bin, but lid must close. Tree stands must be removed. Call for more information.

Los Altos 408-918-4640 Curbside pickup is available during the month of January. Place undecorated tree by the yard waste bin on pickup day; small trees may be placed inside the bin. Apartment residents should place all trees in a central location and call to arrange a pickup.

Los Gatos West Valley Collection and Recycling will pick up two trees per residence on the curb during regular service until Jan. 25. Trees must cut into segments less than 5 feet tall.

Milpitas 408-432-0444 Residents should place their undecorated trees (flocked trees are OK) by the curb on their pickup day by Jan. 10. Trees should be cut into 4-foot lengths.

San Jose Recycle your holiday tree on your collection day from Dec. 26 throughout the month of January. Trees should then be cut into five-foot lengths and placed in the street 1 foot from the curb and 5 feet from your garbage and recycling carts and parked vehicles. Natural and flocked trees accepted. If you live in an apartment, townhouse, or condo, ask your property manager if special arrangements have been made for recycling holiday trees on-site.

Solano County

Most cities and unincorporated areas do allow for curbside collection. Often trees must be cut down to 5 feet. The Reporter has a nice summary of pickup times here, and includes several Boy Scout troops that will also be picking up trees. Refer to the county’s site here for more information.

Sonoma County 707-565-3579 Residents have three options for getting rid of their Christmas trees this year:

  • Cut trees to fit in the yard waste container with the lid closed. The following cities (and unincorporated Sonoma County) can put whole trees next to the yard waste bin: Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Windsor. Check collection dates here.
  • Residents can also call 707-565-3333 to make an appointment and a nonprofit will pick up your whole tree. Suggested $7 donation for trees less than 6 feet tall and $10 for larger trees. Pickup dates are Jan. 4, 5, 11 and 12.
  • In the following cities, residents may drop off up to two trees, free of charge: Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor and some unincorporated areas. Check the website for locations and times for each city and unincorporated areas.

 

 

  • Kristina Pereyra

    Glad to see many municipalities covering all of January. In some cultures, the decorations stay up all the way through the 12th day of Christmas.

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