Tree-mendous gift

Recycle your Christmas tree for free at these 7 San Antonio spots

Recycle your Christmas tree for free at these 7 San Antonio spots

Christmas tree recycle father son
'Tis the season to recycle your well-loved Christmas tree. Photo by Getty Images

Okay, so you decked the halls, jingled all the way, and rocked around the Christmas tree for a wonderful holiday at home. And now that festive fir is seemingly mocking you from the corner of the living room, reminding you with every light twinkle that the Yuletide holiday has given way to an impending new year and a whole new to-do list that doesn’t involve scrambling for family gifts.

But what is a responsible Christmas lover to do with that once cheery Tannenbaum that seems to gift you dropped pine needles by the bucket each day? Luckily there are some friendly local elves who can help you give that live evergreen new life in the form of nutrient-rich mulch and compost.

Both the City of San Antonio and Texas Disposal Systems (one of the largest independently owned waste-collection and disposal companies in the U.S.) are offering easy — and free — recycling of live Christmas trees starting Monday, December 27.

Here’s what you need to know: Regardless of which service and drop-off spot you choose, all Christmas trees must be unflocked. That means you need to remove all decorations, lights, tinsel, ornaments, and any non-living contaminants. (TDS charges a $45 fee to recycle trees that haven’t been cleaned thoroughly, so make sure you get every last bauble removed.)

TDS, which has been helping the San Antonio community recycle organic holiday décor for more than a decade, will accept a variety of items at its Christmas tree collection sites, including live Christmas trees, holly, pumpkins, and other living decorations, which are repurposed into mulch and compost through TDS’ composting division. The finished composts and mulches are then available for purchase at Garden-Ville stores throughout the region.

The recycling is only available for live trees. TDS customers who want to dispose of an artificial Christmas tree can schedule a bulky pick-up by calling 1-800-375-8375.

TDS’ Christmas tree collection sites will be open December 27-January 31, so even holiday procrastinators can go green when undecking the halls. (Note: The sites will be closed January 1, and local spots will have limited hours on New Year’s Eve.)

Here’s where you can recycle your live decorations with TDS:

  • Garden-Ville, 7561 E. Evans Rd., open Monday through Friday 7 am-5 pm, and Saturday 7 am-3 pm. This location is closed on Sundays. 210-651-6115
  • Garden-Ville, 1280 FM 1516, suite 2, in Converse, open Monday through Friday 8 am-4 pm. This location is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. 210-483-1951

City of San Antonio Solid Waste Management will accept live Christmas trees for mulch recycling beginning on Sunday, January 2, though dates vary per location.

All trees taller than 6 feet should be cut in half, with all decorations removed. Do not bag your tree. The city will not accept live wreaths, garlands, or other plants.

Tree recycling locations include:

  • Bitters Brush Recycling Center, 1800 Wurzbach Pkwy., January 2-31, 8 am-5 pm
  • SWMD Highway 90 Center, 5450 Castroville Rd., January 2-31, 8 am-5 pm
  • Culebra Rd Drop-Off Center, 7030 Culebra Rd., January 4-15, Tuesday through Friday 8 am-5 pm and Saturday 8 am-noon
  • Frio City Road Drop-Off Center, 1531 Frio City Rd., January 4-15, Tuesday through Friday 8 am-5 pm and Saturday 8 am-noon
  • Rigsby Road Drop-Off Center, 2755 Rigsby Rd., January 4-15, Tuesday through Friday 8 am-5 pm and Saturday 8 am-noon

About two weeks after each of these city collection events, Christmas tree mulch will be available — for free, while supplies last — at the Bitters Brush site.