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The holidays are a busy time for everyone, including trash haulers and community managers. The Christmas tree discarding season begins at Christmas and often extends into early February. During this time, communities can become overwhelmed by the number of trees residents are tossing. The general increase in holiday trash volume coupled with a large number of discarded Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands (both natural and fake) can be a community manager’s nightmare!

Natural trees, wreaths, and garlands are considered organic green waste and can be disposed of conscientiously either in a designated green waste bin or by hiring a third party to dispose of the trees. If your community has designated green waste bins, ask residents to place them there. Remember that fake trees, wreaths, and garlands cannot be recycled in green waste bins and should be disposed of in the regular solid waste bins.

Fortunately, there are many Christmas tree removal options available to apartment and HOA communities. Below is a list of the most popular methods of discarding Christmas trees:

  • Using regular solid waste bins
  • Ordering a Large 40-yard roll-out bin
  • Requesting special pickup from your trash hauler
  • Requesting  special pickup by a third party

The challenge lies in choosing the most efficient and cost-effective way to get rid of your community’s Christmas Trees. Each option has pros and cons and managers would do well to weigh the various factors such as cost, efficiency, and reliability.

Regular Solid Waste Bin Disposal

This way of disposing of Christmas trees doesn’t require any special services or pickups.

Pros: Using standard trash service so there are no extra costs. Residents can dispose of their trees in a place where they are already familiar with disposing of other types of waste.

Cons: The trouble with this method is that trees are bulky and take up bin space. As bins and enclosures become more crowded and messy with holiday waste, the community’s appearance will be affected negatively. If bins are overflowing and inaccessible, haulers may not be able to perform their pick up.

Best For: This method works best for communities which generate very few Christmas trees.

40-yard Roll-out Bin

Many communities have opted for asking their trash hauler for a large 40-yard roll-out bin to take care of their community’s trees.

Pros: provides the community a single centralized and contained location to discard their trees.

Cons: costly, takes up parking spaces, looks bad, inconvenient for residents, potential liability for the community, costs your maintenance team time that could be spent on other needs

Best for: this option is best for communities with lots of extra space and budget latitude.

Hauler Pick-up

In some cities, trash haulers offer Christmas tree pick up and recycle services.

Pros: No extra cost.

Cons: Trash haulers may become overwhelmed by the volume of trees to be picked up. This can result in infrequent or unreliable pickups which can cause a build-up of unsightly waste in your community.

Best for: This is the best option for communities in cities where haulers provide special Christmas Tree pickups. If your community is in one of these cities, find out the details of holiday pickup and plan accordingly.

Third Party Pick-up

There are some companies or non-profit organizations that offer Christmas tree pick-up.

Pros: Communities can reap the benefits of an easy, convenient, and often conscientious disposal of their trees. Some companies mulch and recycle trees, wreaths, and garlands as green waste.

Cons: The downside to this option is that it is an additional cost to hire a third party to dispose of Christmas trees.

Best For: This is the best option for communities looking to solve their unsightly tree issues safely, conveniently, and conscientiously.


Many problems can arise in a community if managers don’t plan for higher trash volumes during the holidays and also don’t provide residents with a way to dispose of their Christmas trees. Residents may find that trash enclosures become cluttered with excess holiday trash and bins are harder to access among a forest of discarded Christmas trees. Last year alone, Strategic Sanitation Services picked up and recycled 2,134 trees from apartment and HOA communities throughout Southern California. However, with a holiday plan that fits your community’s needs best, any community can enjoy the festivities without the headache of dealing with discarded Christmas trees.



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