christmas tree on sidewalk
Oakland residents can set their Christmas trees out to be picked up until Jan. 15. Credit: Courtesy Waste Management

Oakland residents looking to dispose of their Christmas trees can now set them out to be picked up during the first few weeks of the year. And in February, bulky item pick-up will resume, the service that allows residents to schedule a free pick-up of large items they want to get rid of, like furniture and appliances. The city contracts with Waste Management, a private company, to provide the service, which residents can take advantage of once a year.

Read on for what you need to know about getting rid of your Christmas tree or other large waste.

What do I do with my Christmas tree?

To dispose of your tree, set your clean tree at the curb and it will be picked up the next time your compost is collected. Make sure the tree is bare, with no decorations, ornaments or flocking. Trees placed on the curb in plastic bags will not be picked up.

Waste Management will be collecting full-sized trees through Jan. 15. After that date, residents must cut down the branches and the tree to 3 feet or shorter, and place it in your compost bin, and it will be picked up the next time your compost is collected. Visit the Oakland Recycles website for more information.

What about other bulky items?

Beginning in February, residents can take advantage of the city’s free bulky pick-up service, and should call at least a week in advance to make an appointment. If you live in a single-family residence, call 510-613-8170 or email with the subject line “Bulky Pickup Request Oakland” to schedule your pick-up appointment. 

If you live in a building with multiple units, ask your property manager to arrange a pick-up. 

Which items qualify for pick-up?

The city asks that residents divide their junk into three groups: 

  1. Group 1: Appliances, mattresses or box springs, tires and rims, and computers, TV screens, and other electronics
  2. Group 2: Scrap metal, cardboard that is flattened and bundled together, and yard waste, like branches, plants, and clean wood bundled together
  3. Group 3: Household furniture, carpets, boxes or bags of loose items, painted wood or doors, and debris from home improvement projects, up to 3 cubic yards

Make sure you place your things curbside by 6 a.m. on the day of your appointment. 

Furniture and unwanted household items left curbside in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. Credit: Pete Rosos

Which items are not allowed?

Except for furniture, mattresses, and appliances, items that are over 75 pounds do not qualify for pick-up. Dispose of hazardous waste by calling the Alameda County household hazardous waste facility at 1-800-606-6606. The bulky pick-up service does not take rocks, dirt, or concrete, and yard debris must be in paper bags, not plastic.

What should I do if I’m the property manager?

You can call 510-613-8170 or email to schedule an appointment, or sign a waiver to allow your residents to schedule pick-ups themselves. For buildings with more than 15 units, the city recommends requesting a debris box for all residents to leave their items in. 

Visit the Oakland Recycles website for more details.

Ashley McBride reports on education equity for The Oaklandside. She covered the 2019 Oakland Unified School District teachers’ strike as a breaking news reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. More recently, she was an education reporter for the San Antonio Express-News where she covered several local school districts, charter schools, and the community college system. McBride earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, has held positions at the Palm Beach Post and the Poynter Institute, and is a recent Hearst Journalism Fellow.