Eye on the Environment

‘Twas the week after Christmas and all through the County

treecycling was popular; some got back a mulch bounty.

The trees were placed in curbside carts with great care,

in hopes the recycling truck soon would be there.

Even though Christmas tree recycling is an annual ritual, differing rules, dates and deadlines in various parts of Ventura County can make collection and drop-off confusing. The advertisements, fliers, and on-line outreach from each city are seen by residents of other areas, but each resident needs to know their own city’s rules.

Other than grinding your tree and using the mulch or composting it on site, the best “treecycling” method for the environment, requiring the least amount of truck idling time and transportation, is for you to cut your tree into segments and fit the pieces into your regular curbside yard waste recycling cart. As long as your tree is free of decorations, stands or other items, it will be mulched with your other yard clippings.

Trees over 6 feet in height should be cut in half. Fire-proofed trees should be placed in garbage carts rather than yard waste carts, and you must remove decorations and stands, but trees flocked with fake snow are acceptable.

If you will not cut your tree to fit into your cart, check your city or refuse hauler’s website or call the phone number on your trash bill to find out whether and when homes in your area are allowed to set out whole trees by the curb.

Whole tree collection is currently scheduled for these areas:

  • Harrison & Sons and Waste Management GI Industries collection of whole trees without a charge in unincorporated areas started Dec. 26 and continues through Jan. 8. These same haulers also provide free whole tree collection on regular days of collection in the cities of CamarilloThousand OaksSimi Valley and Moorpark through Jan. 8.
  • Similarly, Athens Services provides whole tree curbside collection in Santa Paula through Jan. 10.
  • Port Hueneme offers whole tree curbside collection Jan. 4-11, and Oxnard offers collection through Jan. 30.

If you set out a tree after a deadline or in an area without free collection, you will be charged for special collection unless you make separate arrangements. In most areas, you can make these arrangements by calling your refuse collector and requesting your annually allocated “free bulky item collection.”

If you live in a multi-family building without yard waste service, ask your apartment manager or other representative of the owner to contract separately with your hauler for special service.

For businesses, homes without curbside yard waste service and apartments without yard waste collection bins, Christmas tree recycling drop-off sites have been available during operating hours since Dec. 26 and will be free through Jan. 10 at the following locations:

  • Agromin Organics, 6859 Arnold Road, near Oxnard.
  • Agromin’s corporate office, 201 Kinetic Drive, Oxnard.
  • Peach Hill Soils’ retail site at Performance Nursery, at 6101 E. Los Angeles Ave., Somis.
  • Peach Hill Soils compost site, 10765 W. Los Angeles Ave., near Moorpark.

Agromin, and Peach Hill offer free bags of mulch or compost to residents dropping off trees at their locations.

Here are some other options:

  • Waste Management’s Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center, 2801 Madera Road, allows free tree drop-off, Monday to Saturday, 7 AM to 4 PM through Jan. 16.
  • Moorpark provides its residents with a free drop-off location on Marquette Street at Park Crest Lane through Jan. 10.
  • Santa Paula’s downtown train station drop-off is open through Jan. 12.
  • Oxnard residents may drop off trees free at the Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 3 PM through Jan. 30 (use the roll-off container next to the buyback center, off Del Norte Boulevard).

In most areas, residents can also put out extra trash after Christmas. For example, residents of unincorporated areas get free collection of up to two extra 50-gallon bags on their day of collection through Jan. 8. Moorpark residents can set out up to three extra bags of trash or recycling at no extra charge through Jan. 10.

By David Goldstein

David Goldstein is an Environmental Analyst with Ventura County Public Works and can be reached at (805) 658-4312 or david.goldstein@ventura.org