Christmas tree recycling highlights composting in Riverside County

RIVERSIDE – The holiday season always ends with plenty of returns and people can return their natural Christmas tree to the ground it grew in by dropping it off at a Riverside County landfill to be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Through the free Christmas tree drop-off program, natural trees collected at the Badlands and Lamb Canyon landfills will be chipped and combined with food waste from the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning to create compost. The food-waste composting pilot program at Lamb Canyon is an innovative way to ensure that organic waste is diverted away from landfill burial, recycled and turned into a valuable soil amendment.

Natural Christmas trees must be prepared for recycling by removing all decorations, lights, tinsel and tree stands. Flocked trees cannot be recycled through this program and need to be cut up and placed in the regular trash container.

Other natural Christmas trees that are recycled, at free drop-off sites or at the curb, will be taken to local green-waste processors to be recycled into compost or mulch. Most trash haulers will collect Christmas trees curbside for two weeks after Christmas. Place the prepared tree next to or inside the green-waste container on the regular pickup day. Trees over 4 feet tall should be cut in half. Contact the waste hauler for more details.

For those without a curbside pickup program, several drop-off locations will accept up to three properly prepared residential Christmas trees for free through Jan. 7.

They include A. Lua Wood Recycling, 18938 Mermack Ave., in Lake Elsinore; B.P. John Recycling, 28700 Matthews Road, in Romoland until Jan. 31; Burrtec Recycle Center, 41-800 Corporate Way, in Palm Desert for Burrtec customers only; Burrtec and Robert A. Nelson Transfer Station, 1830 Agua Mansa Road, in Riverside for Burrtec customers only; Riverside County Badlands Landfill, 31125 Ironwood Ave., in Moreno Valley and Riverside County Lamb Canyon Landfill, 16411 Lamb Canyon Road, in Beaumont.

For more information on this program, call the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources at (951) 486-3200 or visit the waste guide on their website for more green holiday suggestions at

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