Dear PoP – Christmas tree disposal?

Photo by PoPville flickr user sciascia

“Dear PoP,

When it was time for me to dispose of my old Christmas tree New Years weekend, I was told by a neighbor that the protocol is to put the tree in the plant box (in between the sidewalk and street) in front of our apt and they will come pick it up. Usually we throw our trash out back in the alley where the garbage cans are, but I figured this made sense, to avoid Christmas trees from blowing all around the alley from the wind and blocking cars from being able to get through back there. After I put my tree out front, it seemed that the rest of my neighbors followed suit, because now there’s 6 or so trees lining our street in front of our row houses on the 1400 block of Harvard St; however, it has been a couple weeks and none have gotten picked up. I’m wondering what the tree disposal protocol is – where to put them to get picked up and who gets them, if there’s an alternative group to the trashmen who will come recycle the trees, etc? How does everyone else do it in our neighborhood?”

In late Dec. DPW advised:

DPW will collect holiday trees (please remove ornaments, lights, tinsel, etc.) between Monday, January 3, and Saturday, January 15. Place your trees in the treebox space in front of your home, or adjacent to the curb (but not in the street). Please put your tree out for collection between Sunday, January 2, and Sunday, January 9. After January 15, you may put your tree where you put your trash and recycling and we will collect it from there, depending on the truck’s capacity.

19 Comment

  • The DPW press release appears to be a complete fabrication.

    I haven’t seen a single tree picked up anywhere in the city, and I know that the trees were out by the deadline.

  • They’ve got a lot of work cut out for them in the next 2 days! ‘Round the clock christmas tree pickup!

  • ah

    They have separate trucks to pick up the trees, which is why they go in the tree box not the alley (and then they chip/shred ’em).

    I’m guessing they got delayed by the “snow” we didn’t get (they had to salt and such).

    BTW, the deadline is for getting the trees out to the street, not for pickup. Ours were picked up the following week last year. On the other hand, there was one on Reno road well into August a couple of years ago, so YMMV.

    • The press release states that they will collect trees by the 15th.

      • ah

        It says they will pick them up curbside through the 15th, and after that from where your trash is collected. I don’t see a service guarantee.

        I’ve been setting my tree out for at least 10 years by the curb early into the new year and every year it has been collected. The city just drives trucks around looking for them, and may miss it the first time. So be it–there should be other higher priorities.

  • My Christmas tree and those placed out by my neighbors have all been picked up in a timely fashion on Capitol Hill.

  • Same thing is happening on my block as the OP. Last year trees were picked up on a continual basis and no tree sat outside for than a few days.

  • Maybe it’s because I’m in Petworth, but I put my tree out on January 2nd and it’s still there, along with many of my neighbors. They should give us a date/neighborhood map.

    • Mine, too, in north Columbia Heights. In the past, ours has never been picked up from the front – i.e., it’s never gone into the chipper. We have always had to move it to the alley, which is a pain in the butt, and have had to call DPW several weeks later when it’s still sitting there.

  • January is a windy month around these parts. I often see christmas trees rolling down the street like tumbleweeds. It’s funny until one shows up, out of nowhere, in front of your car in fast traffic.

    I think they should pinpoint pickup times for each neighborhood, the way they do with leaves.

  • Same with Southwest, there are probably 7-10 trees in a pile on G St and have been there for a week!

  • After almost 25 years in DC I don’t ever recall seeing trees rolling around until Spring Time. Clearly a little drama goes a long way…

    Take a deep breath, they will get to you.

  • I say we collect them all up in Petworth Heights ourselves and have a nice bonfire somewhere safe!

  • I’m in Shaw and mine was picked up …

  • In the last 3 years mine has never been picked up in Columbia Heights. I end up taking it to Ft Totten trash–but I won this year. My tree is still in the alley. My street doesn’t have tree boxes in the front of the houses and our trash is collected in the alley. there’s no “curb” to set it by.

  • In Shaw, and none on our block have been picked up, though they were all out by around the 3rd.

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