Wednesday, February 8, 2023

‘Tis the Season to Recycle Your Live Tree, Cardboard Boxes, and More

The holiday season means gifts, packages, trees and yes — recycling!

While recycling is probably not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about the holidays, the truth is that Christmas and the holiday season bring all kinds of recyclable things to our homes, from wrapping paper and product packaging to all those cardboard boxes from online shopping, and even our Christmas trees if you put up a fresh tree.

Christmas Tree Recycling

We all love our beautiful Christmas trees, and with the craziness of 2020, many have put them up earlier, to enjoy them longer. But if yours is a real tree, there will eventually come a time to say goodbye.

Putting them in the trash unnecessarily fills up landfills and generates unwanted greenhouse gases when they decompose. Properly recycled trees can be turned into mulch that will improve soil health and help soil retain moisture at county parks, farms, home gardens and landscapes. Plan to recycle your tree properly.

In Coronado, Christmas trees, including flocked trees, may be recycled by using either EDCO’s green-waste curbside program or the drop-off program.

  1. For EDCO’s green waste curbside program, place maximum four-foot sections of your tree in your yard waste recycling container(s), or bundle tree sections together with twine (again, maximum four feet in length, and 18 inches in diameter) and place on the curb between December 26, 2020 and January 9, 2021.
  2. The drop-off program is available from December 26, 2020 to January 15, 2021. Drop off your Christmas tree (no size restrictions) at one of the following two locations:
  • Glorietta Bay boat launch parking lot
  • Cays Park parking lot.
View Map on the city website.

Look for the large roll-off dumpsters. Please do not include any trash.

Christmas tree recycling at Glorietta Bay boat ramp parking lot

If you’re not in Coronado, check with your waste hauler to find out if they offer curbside pickup; many do. Or go to the County’s recycling and hazardous waste database to find Christmas tree drop-off sites near you. Type “Christmas tree” in the “find an item” box, add your ZIP code, community and how you heard about the site, and you’ll see all the drop-off locations near you.

Know What Packaging Can — and Can’t — be Recycled

Gift-giving and online shopping — which has increased exponentially this year —  typically means lots of packaging. But not all packaging can be recycled. Cardboard boxes can be recycled (break them down and put them into your blue recycling bin) as well as paper giftwrap and the carboard tubes it is wrapped around. Some other items can’t be recycled, like padded plastic mailers and bubble-wrap, packing ‘peanuts,’ and traditional gift-wrapping materials like ribbons, twine, and cellophane — so please DO NOT put them in your blue recycling bins; consider re-using them instead. You can find more information on recycling, during the holidays and every day, on EDCO’s website.

Christmas and Holiday Card Recycling

Like packaging materials, not all holiday cards should be added to your recycling. Simple paper cards and envelopes can be added to your blue bins. But cards that have glitter, foil, metallic inks (inks made with tiny metal flakes), other adornments, or are made of actual photographs can’t. If there’s a glitzy front and plain paper backing, tear the cards in two. Recycle the backs and put the glitzy fronts into the trash.

Holiday Light Recycling

Don’t put old holiday lights in your recycling bins. They can tangle up recycling equipment and they also pose a danger to workers in those recycling centers. For recycling options, please visit, or contact a scrap metal or e-waste recycler.

More Info

For more information about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle gift wrapping and holiday decorations, please visit EDCO’s website. or visit San Diego County’s recycling site at

The earth and future generations thank you.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]