The holidays are over and now it's time for the pesky ritual of getting rid of the dried-out Christmas tree.

To assist, the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation is offering to recycle Christmas trees. The only caveat is that this year, residents get only one day to chuck their tree.

In the past, the city allowed residents to drop trees over a two-day period after the holidays. But the lack of participation over the years has prompted the bureau to limit their drop-off program, said Richard Lee, public information officer for the city's Public Works department.

"We have found that the majority of our residents prefer cutting the tree and disposing of them in the green bins on collection day," Lee said.

Christmas trees in this pile at the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino on Jan. 3, 2013 will be recycled. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)
Christmas trees in this pile at the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino on Jan. 3, 2013 will be recycled. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)

Residents are now only allowed to leave their Christmas trees between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 21 locations throughout the San Fernando Valley, city and beachside towns - though the deadline isn't going to be too stringent, Lee said.

The tree drop-off bins at certain designated locations will still be out after Sunday for at least two weeks.

No one will be cited for illegal dumping if trees are dropped off before or after Sunday, Lee added.

The Christmas trees collected during the one-day drop-off event are turned into compost and mulch used at city facilities. The mulch is also available to residents for free to be picked up at 11 different locations that offer free mulch and compost year-round.

While the total number of Christmas trees purchased during the 2012 holiday season have not been tallied, nearly 31 million real Christmas trees were sold in 2011, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. Last year the city collected 100,000 Christmas trees for recycling.

Dispose of your Christmas tree

The city of Los Angeles is hosting a one day only Christmas tree recycling event this year.

Residents may drop off their Christmas trees between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the following locations:

-- Los Angeles Zoo parking lot in Griffith Park at the junction of the Golden State (5) and Ventura (134) freeways.
-- Balboa Sports Center, 17015 Burbank Blvd. in Encino.
-- Sunland Park, 8651 Foothill Blvd. in Sunland.
-- Fourteen fire stations throughout Los Angeles, listed at www.lacitysan.org/tree-recycle.htm.
-- The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation also provides curbside collection for Christmas trees. If trees are too big to cut and place inside a green waste bin, residents may leave the Christmas tree next to the green waste bin on collection day.
SOURCE: City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation


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