Christmas tree drop-off sites open Tuesday

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego kicked off its 43rd annual Christmas tree recycling program Tuesday, with drop-off sites set up around the city for residents who don't have curbside refuse pickup service.

The city's Environmental Services Department said people who drop off their trees should make sure they don't contain ornaments, lights or stands. No plastic bags, trash or trees used for commercial or fundraising purposes are allowed.

The program diverted around 1,100 tons of holiday trees from the Miramar Landfill in 2015, the equivalent of more than 140,000 Christmas trees.

"Because the program has been such a success, we do see less and less of what we call `wildcat dumping' where they just throw (trees) in an alley, or in a cul-de-dac or over a canyon because they are a fire hazard," city spokesman Jose Ysea told NBC San Diego. "It's best to just make the best out of them and let us re-purpose them."

The trees are converted into mulch that residents can pick up and use in their gardens.

Residents have until January 23 to drop off the trees.

San Diego residents can recycle their Christmas trees at the Miramar Landfill Greenery at 5180 Convoy St., off Highway 52.

Morning News Poll: When do you take down your Christmas Tree?

Other drop-off locations are:

-- Carmel Valley Recreation Center, 3777 Townsgate Drive;

-- Cielo Drive at Woodman Street in Encanto;

-- Golden Hill Recreation Center, 2600 Golf Course Drive;

-- Kate Sessions Memorial Park, Soledad Road and Loring Street;

-- Memorial Recreation Center, 2902 Marcy Ave. in Logan Heights;

-- SeaWorld Drive at Pacific Highway in Mission Beach;

-- Chollas Lake, 6350 College Grove Drive;

-- Robb Athletic Field Recreation Center, 2525 Bacon St. in Ocean Beach;

-- Montgomery Waller Community Park, lower west parking lot in Otay

Mesa/Nestor;

-- Rancho Bernardo Recreation Center, 18448 W. Bernardo Drive;

-- Canyonside Recreation Center, 12350 Black Mountain Road in Rancho

Penasquitos;

-- San Diego State University, Parking Lot 17C off Alvarado Road;

-- Scripps Ranch Recreation Center, 11454 Blue Cypress Drive;

-- De Portola Middle School, 11010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. in Tierrasanta;

and

-- Swanson Pool parking lot, 3585 Governor Drive in University City.