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 tree have about 10 days left to set them out on the front curb to be picked up. And for those looking to get rid of other large items like old furniture and appliances, the city will resume its free, bulky pick-up service later this month. The city contracts with Waste Management, a private company, to provide the pick-up services.

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 it 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. 14. After that date, residents must cut off the branches and reduce the tree height to 3 feet or shorter and place the tree parts in their compost bin to be picked up the next time compost is collected. Visit the Oakland Recycles website for more information.

What about other bulky items?

Residents can take advantage of the city’s free bulky pick-up service by scheduling an appointment online or by phone. Appointments will not be available this year until after Jan. 14 due to the demand for Christmas tree pick-ups. Be sure to call at least one week in advance, and be advised that getting an appointment can sometimes take longer. Call 510-613-8170 or email with the subject line “Bulky Pickup Request Oakland” to schedule your pick-up appointment. 

In November, Waste Management extended its services to make it easier for more residents to schedule bulky item pick-ups. Renters living in apartments and single-family homes can now make appointments for bulky-item pick-ups without getting permission from a landlord. Curbside pick-ups at apartment buildings and condos are typically scheduled during the last week of each month.

Any Oakland resident who doesn’t want to wait for a curbside pick-up can also now schedule an appointment to bring bulky trash items on their own to the landfill at 2615 Davis St. in San Leandro.

Which items qualify for pick-up?

For curbside pick-ups, 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

What items are not allowed?

Except for furniture, mattresses, and appliances, items that are over 75 pounds do not qualify for pick-up. Hazardous waste is also not allowed and should be disposed of 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. 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.

This article was updated on Jan. 3, 2021.

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.