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How To Recycle A Christmas Tree

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University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners have formulated several principles for foothill-friendly “smart” gardening. Two of those principles are: Feed the Soil, and Recycle. How can you follow those principles in disposing of your cut, green Christmas tree?

Master Gardeners and Tuolumne County’s Solid Waste Division are encouraging Tuolumne County residents to once again plan on recycling their real Christmas trees. Remember, Christmas trees become a fire hazard when kept too long. Burning Christmas trees in the fireplace is extremely dangerous and burning trees in the open creates air pollution.

Recycled trees have many beneficial uses. Christmas trees can be chipped, shredded and used as: mulch for water conservation and weed control; erosion and/or dust control on hiking trails and bridle paths; additives in composting operations; and alternative fuel in co-generation or biomass plants. The Big Oak Flat/Groveland Transfer Station and the Cal Sierra/Waste Management Earth Resource Facility (ERF) are accepting Christmas trees on a limited basis for FREE under certain conditions.

Christmas trees should NOT be mixed with other trash for disposal or recycling. Residents may wish to chip their Christmas trees and use them at home as mulch or compost or take advantage of one of the following opportunities to recycle Christmas trees in Tuolumne County.


Note: Please remove all decorations, tinsel, metal tree stands and nails. Also, some trees may have a metal supporting rod in the trunk that must be removed. Please do not bring any Christmas wrapping paper or trash.

  1. Big Oak Flat/Groveland Transfer Station at the end of Merrell Road (10700 Merrell Rd) will accept clean cut and bundled trees AT NO CHARGE. The minimum gate fee of $14.70 will be charged for flocked trees of any kind. Drop off during regular business hours, 8:00 am to 3:45 pm, Wednesday and Saturday only, through the month of January.
  2. Cal Sierra/Waste Management Earth Resource Facility (ERF) on Camage Avenue, off of Tuolumne Road near Standard, will accept clean, whole trees AT NO CHARGE during regular business hours, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, closed 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Tuesday thru Saturday, through the month of January. NO FLOCKED TREES. All other green waste will be at the regular charge.

Real Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable resource, help reduce the waste stream by recycling or composting your Christmas trees.

For more information please contact Tuolumne County Solid Waste Division at
(209) 533-5588 or visit us at