christmas tree on sidewalk
Oakland residents can set their Christmas trees out to be picked up until Jan. 13. Credit: Courtesy Waste Management

Oakland residents looking to dispose of their Christmas trees have about three weeks to set them out on the front curb to be picked up. For other large items, like old furniture and appliances, the city will resume its free bulky pick-up service once the holiday tree pick-up period ends on Jan. 13. 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?

If you live in a single-family home or apartment building up to 99 units, set your 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, and cut down to 4-foot lengths. Trees placed on the curb in plastic bags will not be picked up.

Property managers of buildings with 100 or more units can call Waste Management at 510-613-8700 or email to order a roll-off bin.

Waste Management will be collecting full-sized trees through Jan. 13. After that date, residents must cut the tree into parts and place it 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 for curbside pick-up will not be available until after the holiday tree pick-up period ends on Jan. 13. For residents who live in single-family homes, appointments are usually available within two weeks, and curbside pick-ups for apartment building or condo residents usually happen during the last week of the month. Call 1-888-962-8559 or make an appointment online:

Residents can also make an appointment to drop off bulky items in San Leandro at the Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex, 2615 Davis Street. Additionally, bulky block parties happen on the last Saturday of each month at 7101 Edgewater Drive in Oakland, where residents can drop items off for free with proof of residency, like a utility bill.

Which items qualify for pick-up?

For pick-up and drop-off, items include furniture and carpets, painted wood and home remodeling items, appliances, electronics, tires, scrap metal, and cardboard. 

Make sure you place your things curbside by 6 a.m. on the day of your appointment, and not more than one day before your scheduled pick-up date. 

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

What items are not allowed?

Hazardous materials and medical waste do not qualify for pick-up. Alameda County offers appointments to drop off hazardous waste for residents. Rocks, dirt, concrete, and fiberglass are also not picked up.

Ashley McBride writes about education equity for The Oaklandside. Her work covers Oakland’s public district and charter schools. Before joining The Oaklandside in 2020, Ashley was a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and the San Francisco Chronicle as a Hearst Journalism Fellow, and has held positions at the Poynter Institute and the Palm Beach Post. Ashley earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.