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Christmas tree recycling service starts in San Diego

Evening Edition

Above: San Diego officials didn’t wait long to start reminding residents to recycle their Christmas tree. That friendly nudge came just a day after the big gift giving Christmas holiday.

Aired 12/26/13 on KPBS News.

The city of San Diego's 40th annual Christmas tree recycling program begins Thursday.

The city of San Diego's 40th annual Christmas tree recycling program begins Thursday.

The trees are turned into compost and mulch, which can be picked up by city residents at the Miramar Landfill's greenery throughout the year.

San Diego City Councilwoman Lori Zapf said the city recycled about 140,000 trees last year. If those trees were laid end-to-end they would stretch from here to Los Angeles and back.

“In the past, up to 20 percent of the material buried in the landfill was Christmas trees," she said.

Residents with curbside service can leave their trees outside with their other refuse. Those without curbside pickup can take their trees to 16 drop-off locations throughout the city. The trees need to be clean -- meaning no lights, ornaments, tinsel or stands. Flocked trees are accepted.

"Recycling Christmas trees is an important way for San Diegans to help the environment and extend the life of the Miramar Landfill," Environmental Services Department Director Chris Gonaver said. “The compost that will result from grinding of these trees is a great soil amendment. It helps to conserve water here in our climate in San Diego. And it great for erosion controls in your garden.”

Drop-off locations will be at:

-- Carmel Valley Recreation Center, 3777 Townsgate Drive, lower parking lot;

-- Cielo Drive at Woodman Street in Encanto;

-- Golden Hill Recreation Center, 2600 Golf Course Drive;

-- Kate Sessions Memorial Park, Soledad Road and Loring Street in La Jolla;

-- Memorial Recreation Center, 2902 Marcy Ave. in Logan Heights;

-- Miramar Landfill greenery, Convoy Street north of state Route 52;

-- SeaWorld Drive at Pacific Highway near Mission Bay;

-- Chollas Lake, in the parking lot at 6350 College Grove Drive;

-- Robb Athletic Field Recreation Center, 2525 Bacon St. in Ocean Beach;

-- Montgomery Waller Community Park, lower-west parking lot on Palm Avenue in Otay Mesa;

-- Rancho Bernardo Recreation Center, 18448 W. Bernardo Drive;

-- Canyonside Recreation Center, 12350 Black Mountain Road in Rancho Penasquitos;

-- San Diego State University, parking lot D off Alvarado Road;

-- Scripps Ranch Recreation Center, 11454 Blue Cypress Drive;

-- De Portola Middle School, 11010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. in Tierrasanta; and

-- Swanson Pool, 3585 Governor Drive in University City.

Trees from commercial tree lots or fundraising projects are not accepted at the drop-off locations. Instead, such trees can be dropped off until Jan. 23 at the greenery for a nominal fee.

City News Service and KPBS reporter Erik Anderson contributed to this report.

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