And So Begins Christmas Tree Carcass Season but Fear Not, They’ll be Composted if Collected by the 27th

by Prince Of Petworth January 5, 2017 at 9:45 am 23 Comments


While I always delight in August Christmas tree sightings, I also like the environment – so be a good steward and get your tree picked up and composted by the 27th!!

From DPW:

“Holiday trees and greenery will be collected from the curb in front of your home through January 27, 2017 and will be composted. Trees and greenery collected after January 27 will be collected with the trash as space permits in the truck. Please remove ornaments, tinsel and other decorations and put the tree(s) and greenery where your trash and recycling are collected.

Just a reminder, apartment buildings with four or more units are required to provide their tenants with solid waste collections, including holiday trees.”

  • keeferplnw

    Am I the only one who thinks that the first and last sentences contradict one another (in terms of tree placement)?

    • Joe

      Yes! I read the statement multiple times this week. Our trash/recycling is collected in the back alley, so does that mean to leave it there, or out in front by the curb?!?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t want to be insulting, but are you really having difficulty with this? The paragraph pretty clearly indicates that THROUGH Jan 27 you put it at the curb, and AFTER Jan 27 you put it where you put your trash. I’m not saying it couldn’t be written *more* clearly but it’s really not hard to understand.

        • keeferplnw

          I like how you prefaced your insulting statement with a disclaimer that it will be insulting. Your reading would also suggest that ornaments, tinsel and other decorations can be left on the tree through January 27, but not after. I can’t imagine the drafters intended that outcome.

          • Anonymous

            Eh, I just put that there because I knew someone would be insulted by it, but I really was genuinely curious if people couldn’t figure it out. And as I said somewhere else, I didn’t say to read it literally (nor did *I* read it literally), I said there was more than enough information to figure out *where to put the tree* (which is what you said you were unsure about).

          • And I am just saying don’t be an asshole – anonymous. Thanks for understanding – MGMT.

      • Truxton Thomas

        The city has been ambiguous on this issue in past years (tree box vs. trash collection area). While this message is actually clearer than in recent years—put it out front—apparently they couldn’t help but find a way to contradict themselves and plant a little confusion in their message.

    • Anonymous

      If I ignore the dates provided and the middle sentence and all context clues then I can see how you would think that.

      • Joe

        Thanks for your thoughtful input… If that were the case the way the paragraph reads, “remove ornaments, tinsel and other decorations…” would only apply to collection after Jan 27th.

        • Anonymous

          I didn’t say read it literally. But there is more than enough information there to figure out where to put your tree.

          • Anonymous – just answer the question without judgement or don’t answer the question. Christ.

        • ah

          It would help if the clause about ornaments were a separate sentence. Then it would be entirely clear. But it’s really not logical to think that it’s okay ornaments can be left on if the tree is being composted, but not if it’s being put in the trash.

        • JB


        • Anon

          I totally agree with Joe here. I think it is just poor drafting on DPW’s part, and I haven’t bothered to figure out the correct interpretation. Last year, I put it with my trash in the alley, and that’s what I’m doing this year.

      • JB

        Anonymous, at least admit that the phrase “put the tree(s) and greenery where your trash and recycling are collected,” is an unnecessary elaboration and introduces some confusion to the instructions.

        FWIW, I had the same question last year when reading these same instructions and never got a clear answer from DPW. (If I recall correctly, I put my tree in the alley before the compost cutoff date and it was still picked up with the trash. But your mileage may vary.)

  • tree in front

    I think it’s the curb in front until the 27th and with the trash after.

    • dcd

      Of course it is.

  • ah

    BTW, kudos to DC for having a longer period for composting collection. IIRC, it used to be the tree had to be out by about Jan. 6 for it to be collected curbside (as opposed to with trash).

    (That said, they did still seem to drive around just looking for trees for a couple of extra weeks).

  • Anon.

    While trees might be composted if left as instructed, saw two trees go in the back of an orange Tenleytown trash truck with the rest of the garbage this morning.

    • textdoc

      Tenleytown Trash is a private hauler, so whatever guidelines DPW sets out for city pickup wouldn’t be applicable to residences served by private haulers.

    • Anon

      That’s a private company, no? I’m not sure they’re requried by DPW to compost trees they pick up.

  • John

    For several years I have watched my neighborhood follow both suggestions. Some people put their trees in the alley where their trash cans are picked up. Others put theirs by the curb in front of their house. About 95% of the time, the trees in the alley get picked up first, and the trees at the front curb languish for several weeks. My tree is in the back alley!

    • ah

      As best I can tell, DPW sends trash trucks around neighborhoods to pick up just trees, at least for a period of time (now until Jan. 27). Meanwhile, if it’s with the trash, the trash people just pick it up whenever.


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