Recycling your Christmas tree in and around San Jose

When the holidays are over, you still have to deal with the Christmas tree in the corner. Here are a few ways to dispose of dead trees around San Jose.

Three trees, one has a drawing of Shakespeare as a topper, and says "Shakespruce," the next has colorful, pink ornaments, and is surrounded by a "Barbie" box, the last is adorned with white lace, rainbows, and a discoball, with a sign that says "Silicon Valley Pride."

From Shakespruce to the Barbie Tree, all of the trees in Christmas in the Park will be recycled.

Photo by SJtoday staff

Sure, the holidays are all fun and games — but sooner or later you will have to deal with the rapidly decaying Christmas tree in the corner.

That doesn’t mean it’s dumpster-bound. Instead, we have some tips on how to put an old tree to good use.

🌲 Curbside pickup

The City of San Jose will recycle your tree for you: all you have to do is bring it out to the curb on your neighborhood’s usual pick-up day. To make sure it gets properly recycled, remove the tinsel, garland, tree stand + ornaments before bringing it out.

If your tree is artificial — and in good condition — the city recommends either storing it for later use, selling it, or donating to a local thrift store rather than tossing it. Artificial trees in particularly rough shape can be disposed of through San Jose’s junk pickup program.

🌲 Drop-off recycling

Maybe you just can’t wait for curbside pickup or don’t receive service from the City. Drop the tree off yourself at Santa Clara County recycling centers/yard waste drop-off centers.

🌲 Natural feeders

Give back to Mother Nature by making a natural bird feeder. Get creative with edible ornaments (like fruit, peanuts, bags of mixed seed) then set the tree out for birds to eat and take shelter. If your property includes a pond or lake, you can toss in the tree to make a natural reef, giving local fish a home.

🌲 Make your own mulch

When you take a tree to a recycling center they turn it into mulch anyway. So, why not use it for your own yard and spring garden? Ideally, you could shred the tree (for example, Home Depot has mulchers for rent), but usually by the time the holidays are over, the needles will already be falling off. You can spread them in garden beds or over the lawn.