The holiday season always ends with plenty of returns and your Christmas tree is no exception.  Recycle it. Return your natural Christmas tree to the ground it grew in by dropping it off at a Riverside County landfill to be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Through the free Christmas tree drop-off program, natural trees collected at the Badlands and Lamb Canyon landfills will be chipped and combined with food waste from the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning to create compost. The food-waste composting pilot program at Lamb Canyon is an innovative way to ensure that organic waste is diverted away from landfill burial, recycled and turned into a valuable soil amendment.

Natural Christmas trees must be prepared for the recycle process by removing all decorations, lights, tinsel and tree stands. Flocked trees cannot be recycled through this program and need to be cut up and placed in your regular trash container.

Other natural Christmas trees ready for the recycle process at free drop-off sites, or at the curb, will be taken to local green-waste processors to be recycled into compost or mulch. Most trash haulers will collect Christmas trees curbside for two weeks after Christmas. Place the prepared tree next to or inside the green-waste container on your regular pick-up day.  Trees over four feet tall should be cut in half. Contact your waste hauler for more details.

For those without a curbside pickup program, several drop-off locations will accept up to three properly prepared residential Christmas trees for FREE to recyclld through Jan. 7:

  • Burrtec Recycle Center, 41-800 Corporate Way, Palm Desert (Burrtec customers only)
  • A. Lua Wood Recycling, 18938 Mermack Ave., Lake Elsinore
  • B.P. John Recycling, 28700 Matthews Road, Romoland (accepting until Jan. 31)
  • Burrtec/Robert A. Nelson Transfer Station, 1830 Agua Mansa Road, Riverside (Burrtec customers only)
  • Riverside County Badlands Landfill, 31125 Ironwood Ave., Moreno Valley (accepting until Jan. 5)
  • Riverside County Lamb Canyon Landfill, 16411 Lamb Canyon Road, Beaumont (accepting until Jan. 5)

Unfortunately, trees that are not recycled at drop-off locations or through curbside pick-up will only occupy valuable space in our landfills. Make the last gift you give this year to the Earth … recycle Christmas trees!

For more information on this recycle program, please call the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources (951) 486-3200 or visit the waste guide on our website for more green holiday suggestions here.