San Francisco Department of the Environment

Global Pandemic Won't Stop San Francisco From Staying Green and Clean this Holiday Season

San Francisco, CA - Though the pandemic has affected how families around the world celebrate the holidays this year, San Francisco is continuing a time-honored tradition: Recycling and mulching Christmas trees. Like every year, City officials from the Department of the Environment and San Francisco Public Works are reminding all San Francisco residents that their previously unadorned Christmas trees will be collected by Recology from January 4 to January 15, 2021. 


Last January, San Francisco recycled more than 500 tons of Christmas trees into nutrient-rich mulch for landscaping projects. 


“I’m so grateful to our essential workers who have ensured we can continue to use our green and blue bins to recycle and compost throughout the pandemic and into the holiday season,” said Debbie Raphael, Director of the Department of the Environment. "This holiday season, whether you’re celebrating with your household or sharing a meal with family over Zoom, don’t forget that you can keep the City clean and green by setting your tree out for recycling.” 


Recycling your Christmas tree this year is easy. Simply place your tree next to your blue recycling bin the night before your scheduled collection day between January 4 and January 15.


Please remember to remove all tinsel, decorations, nails, plastic bags, stands, and lights. If your tree measures more than 6 feet tall, please cut it in half. Trees should not be put into a plastic bag. Trees will be collected curbside by a dedicated truck on your scheduled collection day.


See attached collection schedule.


The Christmas tree collection and recycling program makes it easy for people to participate – just set out your tree on your regularly scheduled trash pickup day and Recology crews will take care of the rest,” said Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried. Not only does this ensure that discarded holiday trees will be put to good use as earth-friendly mulch, but disposing of them properly also helps keep our neighborhoods clean and safe and reduces fire hazards.”


Collected Christmas trees will be chipped in San Francisco and turned into mulch at Blossom Valley Organics North, a Recology composting facility.


Christmas tree-cycling helps keep San Francisco green and clean by reducing material sent to landfill and preventing improper disposal and illegal dumping. Additionally, the holidays are the biggest food weeks of the year in San Francisco. Historically, the tons of food scraps generated in San Francisco jumps by 17 percent in November and December, which is why it is important that everyone reduce their food waste and continue to use their green composting bin for coffee grounds, eggshells, vegetable peelings, chicken bones, and other scraps. While plans may be different for so many City households, it’s still as important as ever to put waste in the right bins. 


Recologys holiday collection schedule is available on For more information email Recology at or call the company at (415) 330-1300.



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