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San Diego County Christmas tree recycling guide

SAN DIEGO COUNTY — For this year’s Christmas tree collection, the county of San Diego and I Love A Clean San Diego offer tips for residents to recycle their real Christmas trees. The countywide Christmas Tree Recycling Guide at, has a 2021 listing for curbside and drop-off locations in the region.

Before a tree is turned into mulch or composted, follow these tips to ensure they can be fully recycled.

  • Do not flock or buy flocked trees. Fake snow (flock) contains chemicals that interfere with the composting process.
  • If you choose to use tinsel it must be completely removed (and placed in the trash) from your tree before it can be recycled. Best option, don’t buy tinsel. It is a wasteful single-use plastic.
  • Make sure to remove all ornaments, garland, lights, nails, tree bags, and tree stands (metal or plastic) before recycling.
  • For areas where curbside tree recycling is available, trees taller than four feet should be cut in half. It is recommended that pieces be under four feet.
  • Reuse or donate artificial trees that are in good condition. Purchasing new plastic trees create more waste and greenhouse gasses.
  • Don’t let trees real trees sit around too long after the holidays. They can dry out and become fire hazards.
  • Organic wreaths and similar decorations can be recycled with trees.

For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit or call (619) 291-0103.