Don't give up on your Christmas trees just yet (if for no other reason than to avoid a deluge of dropped needles). SF City officials announced today that these still-living holiday staples can soon be put out for collection sometime in early January.

Evergreen trees have been tied to Christmas since they were first cut and decorated as part of a Germanic tradition that emerged in the 16th century, a time in human history also marked by "great plague" pandemics. (An uncanny parallel to the current moment, no?) Over the centuries, these trees have evolved into living room fixtures come late-November and throughout December — ones that many Bay Area locals can soon cast to the curb (to later become mulch) between January 4 and 15.

As reported by Bay City News, SF City officials made sure to remind locals Saturday that Christmas tree pick ups will begin soon... which will see those tossed-out trees turned into mulch.  

"Not only does this ensure that discarded holiday trees will be put to good use as earth-friendly mulch, but disposing of them properly also helps keep our neighborhoods clean and safe and reduces fire hazards," said Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried to the news service.

In 2019, some 500 tons of mulch was created from recycled holiday trees; the trees are processed and chipped at the Brisbane-located Recology composting facility. And as SFGate mentions: The thousands of trees picked up over the two-week-ish collection period are fed through a massive wood chipper "the size of luxury yacht," helping make mulch that's used for landscaping around Bay Area public parks.

A word to the wise: Make sure your holiday tress is stripped of all ornaments and other decorations. For trees taller than six feet, Recology suggests cutting them in half — and there's no need to put them inside bags or wrap them in plastic, either.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Discarding Your Christmas Tree in SF

Image: Courtesy of Unsplash