How to Get Rid of Your Christmas Tree for Free in the Bay Area


After Jan. 12, Waste Management will no longer collect trees from the curb, and you will have to cut your tree up so it fits into your green compost cart.

Contra Costa County

Richmond: Residents must fit their tree into their green compost cart for pickup on their regular trash day. Republic Services will not pick up trees that are placed on the curb. It’s best to cut your tree into chunks that are 3 feet or shorter.

You can also drop off your tree for free at the Golden Bear Transfer Station on 1 Parr Blvd. through the first weekend of February. The transfer station will also accept artificial and flocked trees for $12.75 each. Keep in mind that this service is only available to Richmond residents, and you will be asked to show proof of residency (e.g., your ID or driver’s license) when dropping off your tree.

Marin County

Several Marin County locations accept in-person Christmas tree drop-offs for little or no cost. You can review that list here (PDF).

San Rafael: Marin Sanitary Services (MSS) will collect Christmas trees from Jan. 2 through Jan. 12. Residents can place their trees on the curb the night before their trash is usually collected. Any tree taller than 6 feet has to be cut in half.

After Jan. 12, MSS will still pick up your tree, but for a $5 fee. You can also drop off your tree for free at the Marin Resource Recovery Center at 565 Jacoby Street for the whole month of January. Flocked and artificial trees are accepted there as well but for a fee.

MSS also provides the same services for residents in San Anselmo, Ross, Kentfield, Kent Woodlands, Fairfax, Greenbrae and Larkspur.

Mill Valley: Mill Valley Refuse Service (MVRS) will pick up trees starting Jan. 2. Residents should place their trees at the curb whenever their compost is usually picked up.

MVRS also offers the same services to residents in Almonte, Alto, Belvedere, Corte Madera, Homestead, Strawberry and Tiburon.

San Francisco County

Recology will collect Christmas trees from Jan. 2 through Jan. 12. Residents should place their trees next to their compost bins the night before their trash is collected. Trees taller than 6 feet should first be cut in half.

You can also drop off your tree at the transfer station located at 501 Tunnel Avenue. Call ahead of time — (415) 330-1400 — to confirm availability and potential disposal costs for your tree.

San Mateo County

Recology will pick up Christmas trees starting Jan. 2. Residents must place their trees next to their green compost cart — not at the curb. Trees taller than 8 feet need to be cut in half.

After January, trees must be cut into pieces and be able to fit in the compost bin with the lid closed.

Santa Clara County

San José: Residents can place their Christmas tree on the curb the night before their trash is usually collected. If you have a large tree, make sure you cut it into 5-foot pieces or shorter. If you live in an apartment complex, ask your property manager if you should place it in a different location.

Sunnyvale: City officials are asking residents to place their trees out on the curb ahead of regular trash pickup, as long as the tree has been chopped down to 4-foot chunks.

Mountain View: Residents with smaller trees can cut them up and place the pieces inside their compost bins for regular trash pick up, while families with bigger trees should first cut them up into pieces smaller than 5 feet. Residents should leave their trees alongside street gutters next to their driveways. City officials emphasize the tree should be “easily seen by drivers.” Residents have until Jan. 19 to leave out their trees, After that date, they will have to contact Recology Mountain View by calling 650-967-3034 or emailing ContactUsRMV@recology.com

Solano County

Recology will pick up trees left at the curb starting Jan. 2. Trees should be cut down into pieces shorter than 3 feet.

You can also drop off your tree for free at VALCORE Recycling, a local nonprofit that helps raise funds for community organizations in Solano County. The VALCORE drop-off site is located at 38 Sheridan St. and is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sonoma County

Santa Rosa: Recology will pick up Christmas trees left at the curb from Dec. 26 to Jan. 6. After Jan. 6, residents must cut their trees and fit them into their green compost cart for pickup on their regular trash day. You can also drop off your tree at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds until Jan. 12 and call ahead to confirm prices.

Recology covers most of Sonoma County, so these rules apply to residents in Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sebastopol and Healdsburg.

This article includes reporting from KQED’s Sara Hossaini.





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