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‘Tis the season to recycle

NORTH COUNTY — When the holidays are over, what do you do with that once-beautiful tree, pile of wrapping paper, Styrofoam and outdated electronics?
Almost everything, including the tree, wrapping paper, batteries and packaging peanuts can be recycled, and unwanted electronics, clothing, and toys can be donated.
“Almost anything can be recycled or reused,” Pauline Martinson, executive director of I Love A Clean San Diego, said. Her organization operates R-1-EARTH, the county’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste Hotline and Database, which refers thousands of residents on where to recycle or dispose of just about any item.
Why recycle your tree? Each year, county residents dispose of more than 1 million tons of valuable organic materials from yards, gardens and trees. Collected trees are ground up into high quality mulch or composted and used to enrich soils for next years’ trees and poinsettias. Most waste haulers offer special holiday tree recycling programs to pick up trees with yard waste on regular collection days. Trees taller than four feet should be cut in half; all tree stands, nails and tree decorations must be removed. Drop-off sites are located in Carlsbad, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Vista.
A list of recyclers is available through the county of San Diego’s recycling hot line, which provides solutions for recycling, and keeps reusable items out of our landfills. The hot line is available to residents in the unincorporated communities of the county and can be reached by calling (877) R-1-EARTH or (877) 713-2784 or online at