Help Take The Ass Out of Christmas

xmastree.jpgNothing says “I’m a loser and It’s not my problem” more than those countless tree tossers who finally get around to undecorating their dried-out fire hazards and then just set them out with the garbage ó or worse just put them out on the curb or in the alley as if there’s some sort of reverse engineered sanitation santa who comes by when they’re sleeping and magically takes the decaying thing away. Wouldn’t that be nice? Yeah, it would ó if it weren’t such a careless and lame pipe dream… not to mention illegal (Municipal Code 57.21.06).

So for those of us firmly straddling reality and responsibility and for those who should be, there are a couple options that allow you to do the right recycling thing. First, if you have a greenwaste container, you can get all lumberjack and chop up your now-ignoble fir or too-blue spruce into small enough chunks that allow you to stow it in that appropriate receptacle. But if you’re greencan-challenged and/or understandably not up for such physical labor, even better: the city has set up 16 drop-off sites from Arleta to the Los Angeles Zoo to Westchester that are open this coming weekend (January 8-9) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Best of all, when you drop off your tree, you get free stuff, like an energy efficient light bulb and a certificate for a 20-pound bag of mulch, and other swag while supplies last.

Specific drop-off site info can be found here on the Los Angeles Fire Department website.

17 thoughts on “Help Take The Ass Out of Christmas”

  1. Thanks for getting that info out there. Itís unbelievable how many households dump their Christmas trees on the curb. But it does seem that eventually they, and all the mounds of palm fronds that seem to accumulate there, do eventually ìdisappearî.

    I know the city has a pick-up services that I called once when the winds blew down a mountain of palm fronds in my back yard. All they asked was that I bundle them up, which I did with some twine, and leave them at the curb with the trash cans. But the disposal of whole Christmas trees is an unnecessary burden on city resources and not the intent of this service.

  2. Citizens of Los Angeles: Please be advised that due to the increasing economic hardship of box truck rental, the LA Cacophony Society will no longer be going around your neighborhoods collecting abandoned curb-side X-mas trees to take away (for free) to the beach and burn. Starting this year, you will have to burn them yourself!

  3. I hate Xmas tree abandoners almost as much as I hate sofa, mattress and tire abandoners.

    Of course I’m keeping in mind that, yes, people do pick up some disgarded furniture to use in their own place (like some folks I know in Berkeley). But not all furniture gets picked up for re-use. And sofas on the side of the road are definitely not eye candy.

  4. I believe most anything quasi-legal occuring near LAX has long since been reclassified as a terrorist act. Burning defintely… defintely burning.

  5. Thanks for posting this…I was just gonna do it myself since I hate stuff not being recyled!

  6. Why is this such a burden on the city? Smaller places than LA can manage this pick-up. I understand why those who are on the city payroll need to post happy news about diminishing city services, but as I don’t have a performance review coming up, I don’t feel the need to be all cheery about the city. The City of LA seems to have plenty of money to waste on DWP PR and other non-vital services, so why not Christmas tree pick-up? My garbage men are strapping, healthy guys–surely they can push the botton to pick up the refuse bin with a tree in it.
    And where do the contents of the yard waste bins go, if not to be recycled?

  7. That’s why Hannukah uses candles – it’s self-cleaning. No messy post-holiday disposal, no strain on city services. Hannukah ROCKS!

  8. Strange and incorrect jibe at who my employer is aside, I’d invite “Rachel” to reread the post as the issue is not that her strapping sanitation workers won’t pick up the trees. I made it pretty clear that they will certainly do so providing the tree is cut up and fully contained in a greenwaste receptacle.

    And to her narrow inquiry as to why discarded trees might be such a burden on the city? With the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of L.A. residents who don’t have access to greencans, even if it’s only a small percentage that dumps their trees, I would encourage “Rachel” to unsimplify her view and attempt to comprehend how much it would negatively impact sanitation workers’ route times to hand load the discards of thousands upon thousands of flakes, not to mention how quckly sanitation vehicles would become filled, thereby necessitating additional trips to empty them.

    But hell, with all the money she’s sure the city is rolling in, no doubt she’s as stubbornly certain they can afford all that overtime, not to mention the spike in vehicle fuel and maintenance costs. And certainly such unbudgeted payouts wouldn’t eventually get laid on the checkbooks of us taxpayers in the form of higher refuse collection fees… not in “Rachel’s world. No way!

  9. Geez, Rachel, if you went out and bought a tree and dragged it home, how big a deal is it to drag it back out to the city’s nearby free recycling center?

    And they DO pick up trees stuffed into green-waste cans. As the very first sentence of the very first paragraph on the linked page says,

    Please recycle your tree by cutting and placing it in your green yard trimmings container. If you are unable to use your green container[…]

    As for your remark that “I understand why those who are on the city payroll need to post happy news about diminishing city services […]”, uhm… I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I don’t remember LA ever doing curbside Xmas tree collection, and I’ve lived here for 26 years.

    Nothing’s been “diminished.” In fact, 26 years ago, they didn’t even have recycling drop-off centers. Those are (relatively) new.

    (If you’re referring to Tar’s comment above that begins “Citizens of Los Angeles…”, uhm, you might wanna read it a bit more carefully. He’s from the LA Cacophony Society, not the City of LA.)

    (And if you’re not referring to that, then color me confuzed – what ARE you referring to?)

  10. It’s gross that people dump trees out on the curb without finding out or caring what the local program is, but curbside tree pickup is not a totally unreasonable expectation – it’s a reality in many places, including elsewhere in LA County, extreme fire hazard notwithstanding.

    I’m not a sanitation engineer, but dried out evergreens seem pretty light and compressible – volume and weightwise, I’d guess they’re comparable to a week’s worth of whatever other garbage/recycling/yardstuff a family puts out. Once a year, from a subset of families, and spread over a few weeks, is that such a huge burden?

    More info at
    and for the truly unmotivated, .

  11. Thanks for the comment and links, Betty. That second one is both brilliant and sad. A curbside tree pick-up service run by the city would be great, but logistically I don’t see how it could be incorporated into the regular weekly visits. I think it would have to be a separate program (such as the bulky item pick-up the city offers) utlizing a bunch of dollar signs for a fleet of roving wood-chippers and additional personnel. Until that wonderful day, I’m one of the many proud to pack out what I packed in.

  12. Well, I just chopped up my neighbor’s tree (retired cop, now on disability) and stuffed it in the recycle bin but I drove mine to Malibu and dumped it in the high rent district. In my neighborhood (not so spiffy), you can give the sanitation guys a ten-spot and they take the whole tree. But, if if all worked, it wouldn’t be LA. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here, but I don’t think we need to spread all the happy-talk about lousy city services. Every weekend, Griffith Park is awash in litter, but oh my! Christmas trees must be driven to a “convenient” location.
    Packing in what you pack out–self-aggrandize much?

  13. “Rachel” wants to know if I self-aggrandize myself much, but I see absolutely no reason to bring sex into this topic.

  14. My apologies. The LA Cacophony Society WILL be doing the public service routine again this year. From Highland Park to East Hollywood to Dockwieller Beach, orphaned X-mas trees will find a home in an accelerated composting process known as fire. See for yourself on J23.

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