January 19, 2018
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Where you can recycle your Christmas tree

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
January 5, 2018

Every year after presents have been unwrapped and the new year reigned in, the dried remains of once decorated Christmas trees often dot city streets and neighborhoods, waiting to be picked up. This year is no different, however, there are various ways you can ensure your tree can get recycled in an environmentally friendly way and the Sonoma County Waste Agency is reminding residents how to properly prepare your tree for pick-up.

According to the Sonoma County Waste Agency website, Christmas trees make excellent compost and are “Recycled into mulch and compost,” which “... Is highly prized for its acidic qualities.”

If you want to save some of that mulch for yourself then you can by cutting the long branches of the tree with pruners, which can be laid over perennial plants. The Christmas tree branches can help protect the more delicate of perennials from frost or cold winter temperatures. Or you can use the long and bottom branches as the base for compost pile.

No green thumb, no problem, the local Sonoma County Waste Agency will recycle your tree for you, yet as stated on the website’s tree recycle information page, “In order for the tree to be recycled it must be free of lights, decoration, tinsel and stand (metal or wood) and flocked trees will not be accepted. 

The agency is also emphasizing that the tree must be cut to fit in your green yard waste container since trees that stick out of the container can interfere with the truck’s lifting arm mechanism. If you have too big of a tree or do not want to cut it up, you can leave your unflocked tree on the curb beside the yard waste container on special tree-pick up days.

Rohnert Park residents can have their uncut tree picked up from Jan. 2 - Jan. 6. Cotati residents can have their uncut tree picked up from Jan. 8 - Jan. 12. Residents of unincorporated areas of Sonoma County will have to visit www.recology.com/recology-sonoma-marin for information regarding how they can have their trees recycled.

If you happen to miss the pick -up dates you can also call 707-565-3333 to set up an appointment with a non -profit to pick up your tree. 

Felicia Smith of the SCWA said this year the nonprofit helping with tree pick-up are the local girl scouts.

“It is for a good cause and the $7 donation is suggested,” Smith said.

 All you have to do is call before Jan. 12 to arrange a date and a $7 donation for the pick-up of a 6 foot or smaller tree is suggested. $10 is suggested for larger trees.

There are also several free tree drop off locations throughout Sonoma County. RP residents can go to the RP Community Center at 5401 Snyder Ln. Trees are being accepted daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Jan. 15. Cotati residents can go to the Cotati Fire Station at 1 East Cotati Ave. Trees are being accepted daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Jan. 15.

The National Christmas Tree Association also has several other creative ways you can make use of your tree once it is dry and brittle. According to their website, some communities are known to use old trees as soil erosion barriers, a concept that may come in handy near local creeks or burned out areas where erosions poses a threat.

Or you can use your tree as a fish feeder. As stated by the website, “Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.”

And lastly, if you still want to hold on to your tree why not plant it in our own backyard? The Christmas tree association recommends getting a spot in your yard ready in the fall. “It is a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft.” and to “...Plant the tree into the hole immediately after Christmas.”