Recycle Your Christmas Tree to Avoid Added Fire Danger and Waste

Recycle Your Christmas Tree to Avoid Added Fire Danger and Waste

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – The County of San Diego encourages residents to recycle their Christmas trees as soon as they become dry to reduce fire danger and minimize the amount of holiday waste sent to the landfill. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house, garage, or placed against any structure.

Christmas trees become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out. “The longer you keep a Christmas tree in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes,” said Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association. The San Diego County Fire Authority also advises that residents do not put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Beyond the fire danger that dried-out trees pose, they can also contribute to the increase in waste sent to landfills during the holiday season, if not sent for recycling. According to the EPA, organic materials like Christmas trees, food, and yard clippings are the number one material sent to landfills, composing two-thirds of the solid waste stream.  Composting these materials preserves space in local landfills, reduces greenhouse gas generation, and removes a potential fire hazard from your property.

Many local waste haulers offer curbside pick-up of Christmas trees and wreaths, in addition to dozens of community drop-off sites. The Christmas trees are composted into mulch, which is then used to improve soil health at public parks, local farms, and home landscapes and gardens.

FIND PICK-UP INFORMATION, DROP-OFF LOCATIONS – The partnership between I Love A Clean San Diego and the County of San Diego takes the hassle out of recycling your holiday tree by gathering all your ‘tree-cycling’ options into one list.

Most waste haulers pick up Christmas trees during normal curbside collection days for a few weeks following the holiday. Visit or call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784) for more information or to find a local company that offers pick-up. In addition to curbside pick-up, Christmas tree drop-off sites are located in the following communities:

  • Bonsall
  • Carlsbad
  • Coronado
  • Del Mar
  • El Cajon
  • Escondido
  • Imperial Beach
  • La Mesa
  • Lemon Grove
  • National City
  • Oceanside
  • Ramona
  • San Marcos
  • Solana Beach
  • Valley Center
  • Vista

A complete list of tree recycling locations is also available at or by calling 1-877-R-1-EARTH.

CHRISTMAS TREE RECYCLING TIPS – Before recycling your Christmas tree, review these tips to ensure your tree is recycled properly:

  • Trees taller than four feet should be cut in half. It is recommended that pieces be under four feet.
  • Remove ornaments, garland, tinsel, lights, nails, tree bags, and tree stands (metal or plastic) before recycling.
  • Check with your local hauler to see if they accept flocked trees (fake snow).
  • Reuse or donate artificial trees that are in good condition.

I Love A Clean San Diego operates San Diego County’s official recycling and household waste database and call center which refers thousands of residents to the proper facilities to recycle or dispose of hundreds of different items. From Christmas trees to food donations and appliances to cooking oil, ILACSD makes waste diversion quick and convenient. San Diego County residents are encouraged to visit or call 1-877-R-1-EARTH to learn how to recycle Christmas trees as well as hundreds of other items.

About I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) As San Diego’s most influential advocate for sustainability, I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) is an environmental catalyst, awakening passion and inspiring action, empowering everyone to improve the health and beauty of our local environment. For over sixty years, we’ve brought the best in all of us together for a lasting, positive impact on our region. We are passion in action. For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit or call (619) 291-0103. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.