Holiday Tree Collection Begins Jan. 11

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Holiday trees and greenery will be collected between Jan. 11 and Feb. 5, 2021 from homes that receive curbside collection from the Department of Public Works (DPW). Items collected during this period will be composted; in the spring, the mulch will be provided to residents at no cost.

DPW has jettisoned last year’s appointment system. Residents can leave trees and greenery where they put their trash for collection. Don’t worry –if you want your tree up past Feb. 5, DPW will still collect it –they just can’t promise trees collected after that date will be composted.

“We are in the season of giving and being kind, not just to each other but to the environment as well,” said DPW Director Chris Geldart. “While DPW works to return holiday trees back to the earth, we ask residents to help us achieve our zero waste goals by also recycling other items traditionally in use this time of year.”

Here are the highlights of the 2021 collection program:

  • Collection for DPW-serviced households. Residents who receive collection service from DPW should leave items where and when they set out their trash. Households not serviced by DPW (for example, apartment buildings) should consult with their landlord/property owner for collection procedures.
  • No appointments required. This year, DPW will collect holiday trees from the normal point of collection on trash day.
  • Remove decorations. When setting these items out for collection, residents should remove all ornaments and lights. Do not put the trees and greenery in a bag.
  • Trees become free compost for residents. Trees and greenery collected through February 5 will be composted. District residents can collect up to five 32-gallon bags of the free compost year-round while supplies last at the Fort Totten Transfer Station. Residents must bring their own bags.
  • Composting not guaranteed after Feb 5. After that date, residents can still place holiday trees and greenery where their trash is collected; however, composting is not guaranteed. The items will be picked up with the trash as space in DPW trucks permits.
  • How to find out a neighborhood’s collection schedule. Residents can go to dpw.dc.gov and click on the holiday tree banner to see DPW’s trash schedule.
  • What to do if holiday tree and/or greenery was not collected. Call 311 to create a “Christmas Tree Removal – Seasonal” service request.
  • Safety protocols in place. To help safeguard employees and the community, DPW crews will continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, hand wash and hand sanitize frequently. Vehicles and equipment will be cleaned and sanitized before and after every use.

Throughout the holidays, District residents are also encouraged to recycle holiday food containers like eggnog cartons, cans, and pie tins. Non-metallic wrapping paper can also be recycled along with empty, flattened gift and cardboard shipping boxes. Holiday ribbon is not recyclable and should be placed in the trash. String LED lights can be dropped off at the Fort Totten Transfer Station for electronic waste recycling.

For more information on recycling this holiday season, visit zerowaste.dc.gov.