The holidays are hitting the home stretch toward New Year’s Day. It’s time to start making your recycling plans if you have a fresh-cut Christmas tree. But there are also other holiday items you should consider recycling even if you celebrated Christmas with an artificial tree.
Here’s how to properly dispose of your greenery – and this includes wreaths or other decorations made with living greens.
The easiest thing to do for most households in San Diego is to put it out for collection with your regular greenery pickup. If you don’t have greenery pickup, there are 17 drop-off locations available. The City of San Diego will accept your tree starting today, December 26, through January 23 by either method. After January 23, the Miramar Landfill Greenery will take it year-round, along with any other vegetation for recycling.
If you drop off your tree at Miramar, take advantage of the free mulch or compost available for residents. You can load it into containers or a truck bed for use in your garden.
If you aren’t in the City of San Diego, check the WasteFreeSD website operated by the County of San Diego and I Love A Clean San Diego for additional resources.
If you have a private trash collector, check their individual policies. Most offer curbside pickup for at least two weeks after Christmas.
But if you’re a little more ambitious, there are several other ways to reuse and repurpose your tree. Some possibilities:
- You can turn it into mulch in your own yard, especially if you have access to a wood chipper.
- You can use it as the base layer (flooring) in your compost bin.
- You can use the trunk and larger branches as garden stakes for other plants. They look a lot better than manufactured wood stakes.
- You can use the trunk and branches to build your own rustic style trellis if you’re a little bit handy. Here’s an example from the Birds and Blooms blog.
- The trunk and branches can be applied to a plain window box to create a more natural-looking planter for home or garden.
- If you use shrub shelters to protect plants from frost or freezing temperatures, you can use the branches to create a natural-looking roof. Or you can even use the branches themselves to protect your more delicate plants during cold nights.
Don’t stop your recycling efforts there! Consider recycling any old Christmas lights that you have. Start with the broken and damaged lights. If you have older types of bulbs, consider retiring these less energy-efficient lights before next Christmas and replacing them with LED lighting. The LED lighting is low cost and extremely energy efficient – 80 percent more efficient than incandescent lights. LEDs last 20 years, seven times longer than incandescent lights, so another great reason to switch.
Maybe the most important advantage of LED lights: they don’t heat up, minimizing the risk of your Christmas tree becoming a fire hazard.
There are also new solar-powered holiday lights worth considering. Those post-holiday clearance sales give you an opportunity to pick up something new for next year.
Even if your old lights are working, considering recycling them by trading them in. Many home improvement retailers will accept trade-ins before the holidays and give you a discount toward new light strands. But if you’ve missed that window, there are several companies that allow you to ship them your old lights, and they will also offer coupons or discounts toward the purchase of new lights. Get more information about these year-round programs at the 1-800-Recycling.com website.
Next Christmas isn’t that far away. Oh no, did I just write that?!
So gather up your old strings of incandescent Christmas lights–whether or not they still work– and head to your nearest home improvement store to trade them in. Dump them in the Christmas light recycling box, and pick up your coupon for money off the purchase of new, energy-efficient LED Christmas lights.
Get more information about recycling your lights and many other items at Recycle San Diego’s website.