It’s that time of year! As the holidays pass the question becomes: How do I properly dispose of the fading tree? Luckily, it’s more straightforward than you think. Here, find a helpful how-to for properly disposing of your tree.
No matter if your tree is compostable, flocked (fake snow), or plastic, you have two options for disposal: curbside pick-up or drop-off. Whole trees can damage the City’s collection trucks, that is why they will not be picked up if you leave them at the curb as is (pictured below).
For curbside pick-up:
Please cut or disassemble your tree to fit inside the proper cart with the lid closed. Compostable trees can go in your green cart, just don’t forget to remove the tree stand and decoration. Flocked and plastic trees go in your grey landfill cart. If you’re in need of tools to cut your tree down to size, we suggest checking with the Berkeley Tool Library or considering drop-off.
You can bring your whole tree to the Berkeley Transfer Station located at 1201 Second Street, Monday through Saturday 8am – 4:30pm. Through the month of January compostable trees are accepted for free! There is a $29 fee for dropping-off flocked and plastic trees, and a minimum $23 fee for compostable trees after January 31st.
Of course, we encourage you to store and reuse decorations again next year and in years to come. For more information about disposing of holiday decorations, check out Resourceful.
Avoid Waste Next Year with these Tree Alternatives!
Even easier than figuring out how to dispose of your tree is avoiding a traditional “live” tree. This can mean avoiding toxics in the land and waterways, since tree farms often use pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers that can be harmful to soil quality, wildlife, and other ecosystems. Additionally, trees can take up to ten years to grow, only to be used for about a month. Potted plants, like a rosemary “Christmas tree,” are a common substitute which smell great and you can keep them all year. Another option is to get creative with pieces like wreaths, branches, or other items around the house and your neighborhood to make a DIY display “tree.”
Evergreen branches can be found at tree lots around town, and can cost you as little as nothing. The sales lots are often asked to cut off limbs or shorten the tree, potentially treating these trimmed boughs as waste. These options could be reused or recreated year after year!