Here’s how you can recycle your Christmas tree in Sonoma County this winter
It’s the season to recycle your Christmas trees, and Zero Waste Sonoma County, the solid waste agency, has three free local programs: Curbside pickup, drop-off locations and nonprofit whole tree pickup.
“It’s just a really simple thing people can do to reduce their carbon footprint and keep organics out of the landfill, increase soil health and make agriculture more productive,” said Sloane Pagal, zero waste program manager.
Collected trees are sent off to compost facilities in Vallejo, Ukiah and Napa where they will be chipped and mixed in with other compost materials and applied to land, gardens and farms across the North Bay.
Whole tree curbside pickup is available throughout the Sonoma County for the first time this year, with the exception of Sonoma and Sebastopol. This means residents with trees under 6 feet tall can place their entire trees on the curb, free of bags, flocking or ornaments, next to bins. Trees over 6 feet tall should be cut in half, Pagal said.
Specific dates for curbside pick up in each town can be found at zerowastesonoma.gov/materials/christmas-trees.
The second option is to choose a drop-off location where large trees, free of flocking and ornaments, can be left.
On Tuesday, John DeLario, 66, of Santa Rosa was recycling his Christmas tree, previously decked in family ornaments from his childhood, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds drop-off bin.
“I think it’s great,” DeLario said. “I bring my tree here every year. It’s easy when you have a truck and it keeps it out of the landfill.”
The third option, a whole tree pickup, is conducted by local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, who collect donations for their troop and haul the trees to Zero Waste Sonoma County drop-off bins. A donation of $7 is recommended for trees less than 6 feet tall and $10 is suggested for larger trees.
Nico Kwam, 15, a scout from Santa Rosa, was with his dad, Norm Kwan, 58, dropping off their collection of four trees from their haul on Sunday.
“It’s pretty fun when you do it with the right people,” Nico said, lifting a tree the size of himself from his dad’s white pickup truck.
He’s been doing the tree donations every year since he was 10-years-old, but this year they were “killing two birds with one stone,” his father said. He was also practicing to receive his driver’s license while they drove around collecting trees.
The donations Nico collected last year from collecting Christmas trees helped his troop take a field trip to Catalina Island.
“It makes me happy,” Nico said. “You get to drive around and help people out.”
Those interested can (707) 565-3333 to make an appointment for nonprofit whole tree pickup, although the service is not available in Sonoma. Upcoming pickups will be on Jan. 1, 2, 8, and 9.
You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-526-8511 or email@example.com. On Twitter @alana_minkler.
Breaking news & general assignment reporter, The Press Democrat
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