No need to dump your Christmas tree illegally, as Recology will simply take it for free and turn it into mulch if you put it with your curbside trash and recycling, as they have done for 30 years.

According to the Examiner, on Tuesday, Recology resumed their once-annual press event reminding San Franciscans that you can just put your Christmas tree out next to your recycling bin on your regular weekly trash and recycling collection, and Recology will simply take it away for free. It’s an annual event outside City Hall called the tree-chipping demonstration, meant to show how your tree will be shredded before it gets recycled into landscaping materials. Recology and City Hall have not held the tree-chipping demonstration since 2019, as obviously COVID precautions put the event on hold.

But this year’s tree-chipping demonstration looked a little different than the 2019 version. Namely, because it was missing its traditional participants Mohammed Nuru (currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for fraud and bribery), former SF Department of the Environment director Debbie Raphael (resigned in disgrace for soliciting $25,000 from Recology), and former Recology executive Paul Giusti (serving house arrest for bribing Nuru with $55,000 cash).

That said, Recology will still pick up your Christmas tree if it’s a real tree!

“We never want to see old Christmas trees left out on the sidewalk willy-nilly for extended periods of time where they can become hazards,” Nuru’s replacement, SF Public Works Director Carla Short, told KRON4. “San Francisco’s treecycling initiative helps keep our neighborhoods clean and safe by allowing residents to dispose of their old trees properly and put them to good use as mulch that can be used for landscaping.”

It’s easy. All you have to do is put your tree next to your blue recycling bin for your regularly scheduled weekly trash and recycling pickup, between January 2 and January 12, 2024. Do remove all lights, ornaments, and tinsel from the tree.

And do not place the tree in the compost bin, as pine is not good for compost. Trees six feet tall and taller should be cut in half for collection. And the SF Fire Department encourages you to put the tree out on the earliest day possible, to lower the risk of house fire.

“A dry Christmas tree that is dying, combined with any heat source, is a fire waiting to happen,” SFFD Captain Jonathan Baxter said Tuesday, per the Examiner. “Christmas tree fires are more common than you’d think.”

Recology generally collects one million pounds of Christmas trees each year in SF, all of which is chipped and mulched for use in landscaping projects.

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

Image: @RecologySF via Twitter