City urges Calgarians to recycle Christmas trees, wrapping

There might be snow on the ground, but the city is hoping more people will make it a green Christmas by recycling their tree and wrapping paper.

Green Calgary also putting on 1-day Styrofoam recycling event

The city is reminding Calgarians there are plenty of options when it comes to recycling this season. 2:04

There might be snow on the ground but the city is hoping more people will make it a green Christmas by recycling their tree and wrapping paper.

Crews will be picking up real Christmas trees from homes that receive residential black cart garbage collection. The tree will be turned into mulch instead of being taken to the garbage dump.

A recycling program run by the city is hoping to keep Christmas trees out of landfills.

"Last year we kept approximately 36,000 trees out of the landfill," said Darcy Cairns, superintendent of programs for waste and recycling services, in a release. "We collect trees from homes and there are also eight drop-off locations, so it's really easy for people to participate."

Calgarians can place their tree on the ground near their black cart collection spot by 7 a.m. before Jan. 9 for recycling. The city says the tree should not be blocking the street, lane or sidewalk and should be at least a foot away from your carts.

Leave the tree out and it will be picked up within three weeks. Do not bag or tie the tree, and make sure to remove the tree stand, ornaments and lights. 

The mulch from the program will be available for people to take for gardening and landscaping at the East Calgary Landfill while supplies last.

Eight tree drop-off locations will also be open from Dec. 26 to Jan. 31:

  • Bowness Fire Station #15 - 6358 35th Ave. N.W.
  • Prairie Winds Park - 223 Castleridge Blvd. N.E.
  • Bottomlands Park - St. George's Drive and Seventh Ave. N.E.
  • Marda Loop Communities Association - 3130 16th Street S.W.
  • Parks Compound - 10312 Sacramento Drive S.W.
  • Spyhill Landfill* - 69th Street and 112th Avenue N.W.
  • East Calgary Landfill* - 17th Avenue and 68th Street S.E.
  • Shepard Landfill* - 114th Avenue and 68th Street S.E.

(*Landfill locations are closed Sundays.)

Wrapping paper, electronics and Styrofoam

As for Christmas packaging and wrapping, Calgarians are reminded that bows and Styrofoam packaging cannot be recycled.

"A lot of gift wrapping can be recycled in your blue cart or at a community recycling depot," says Cairns in a release. "Wrapping paper, for instance, can be crumpled together in a ball and placed loose — not bagged — into the cart."

Residents can also recycle Christmas cards, gift bags and cardboard boxes by placing them loose in the cart. Ribbons, bows, and gift bag handles should be removed and reused or thrown away.

Shiny, foil wrapping paper is also ineligible for recycling. 

But Green Calgary is holding a one-day event for people looking to recycle Styrofoam Dec. 30 from 3-6 p.m. at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association parking lot located at 1320 Fifth Ave. N.W.

"We will be accepting Styrofoam packaging (kind of like what comes in a computer box or a TV box) but cannot accept packing peanuts, Styrofoam food containers or other garbage," said the organization.

The city is also reminding Calgarians to recycle electronics if you received a new television, computer or printer for Christmas.

There are 30 electronics recycling depots throughout the city that accept material at no charge, including all three City landfills. View a full list at

For more information or to find a seasonal drop-off location near you, contact 311.


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