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Don't Bag Your Trees!

It is tree pick up week in Medford - January 6 through 10, 2014. Medford residents' Christmas trees are picked up by Waste Management and handled the same way they handle yard waste during the summer.  What this means for you is NO plastic bags.  It also means no decorations and no tinsel.

Last year Waste Management told us:
Please remove everything from your tree, as tinsel, lights, decorations and plastic bags are not compostable.  Do not put your tree in a plastic bag; it is Waste Management’s policy to not pick up trees in plastic bags.

If you find carrying a Christmas Tree out of your house very messy, and you have discovered that using a large plastic bag/plastic wrap to carry it out really saves on the housekeeping, I have a solution for you: once you get the tree to the curb, take a knife and slit the bag up the side.  Then roll the tree out of the bag leaving the tree and tuck the bag into your garbage can.

If you miss tree pickup, please do not burn your tree. Burning yard waste is illegal in Medford. Burning unseasoned wood (like Christmas Trees) is particularly bad for chimneys and can cause chimney fires.

Waste Management composts our yard waste and chips and composts our Christmas Trees.  This is why it is important to put out yard waste only, not logs, plastic bags or other random stuff. 

For more environmental information about Christmas Trees and their disposal, see End Of The Line For Christmas Trees on our personal blog.

Happy New Year!
Alicia Hunt
Director of Energy & Environment
City of Medford

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marie Hayes January 05, 2014 at 08:18 AM
Alicia, why is the free City of Medford pickup of christmas trees limited to addresses of single, two family and three family homes when condo owners pay their property taxes to the City of Medford? Given that the trees are turned into compost, it seems ridiculous that condo owners are not allowed to utilize this city wide service despite contributing the funds that make it available. Heck, every tenants can chuck a tree onto the street even though they pay zero in property taxes. Why the diss from the City?
Alicia Hunt January 05, 2014 at 08:29 AM
Marie, At some point condo associations or the developer decided whether or not the project would be on municipal trash. I don't know how those decisions were made. Tree pickup is part of the municipal trash program. The Association should contact whoever does the trash removal to arrange for tree removal. There might be other local options as well, but I haven't looked into any - maybe a local gardening company or arborist would do tree removal?
Marie Hayes January 05, 2014 at 08:37 AM
Yep, thats the party line from City Hall, the one we have received annually for four years for every office & department head in the City of Medford. We have a total of ten trees. Ten. When we asked to take part in the city recycling program, the one our property taxes pays for, we were told by City Hall that we had to have Waste Management as our solid waste vendor, not possible partake in ANY City of Medford recycling unless we have a contract with Waste Management. Seems kind of strange to me that we must pay twice for services that tenants get for free.
Marie Hayes January 05, 2014 at 08:49 AM
South Medford, there is always a twist to the rules that apply to the rest of Medford. Non tax paying tenants can dump their trash & old furniture on the sidewalk without recourse, but condo owners, no pick up of old furniture, not for us, we pay $125 for a chair to be removed. College Kids who lived across the street piled their mangy sofas and tvs on the sidewalk and bolted from Medford. The landlord received his annual letter warning him not to do it again. Condo owners get the shaft in Medford. Our developer told owners option to have City of Medford trash & recycling was not made available, we had to have private waste management services.. Developer is very ethical and honest, we do not doubt him.
Ron Swanson January 05, 2014 at 11:19 AM
Marie, why not just lug the tree across the street to a home where the DPW will pick up? Unethical, yes. Effective, also yes. If the occupant catches you then just offer a few bucks in compensation, win win for everyone! I'm just joking of course.
Marie Hayes January 06, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Ron, last year tenants who missed the "free to all residents" xmas tree pickup dropped their trees in our yard....we had 50% more trees than anticipated as our lovely neighbors contributed to our pile, located well within our property. Our were bagged & tagged, making it obvious where the other non-bagged tress originated, as well as observing the trees being deposited
Joe Viglione January 06, 2014 at 09:06 AM
Garfield/Salem Streets - at 9:05 AM on January 6, Waste Management came by with the Christmas Tree truck.
Rooboo January 07, 2014 at 06:23 AM
This city is SO backwards! We should be treating condo dwellers like kings around here, hoping that more and more come to medford. Not only should we give them full garbage service we should give every new condo a 5 year tax abatement.
John D January 07, 2014 at 02:44 PM
Rooboo spoken like a condo owner??
Rooboo January 07, 2014 at 05:30 PM
Nope..I just bought a single family which I'm living in while we renovate. It's becoming painfully obvious how backwards this town is. It's really sad how much potential is unrealized because of local peoples lack of vision.
Pete January 09, 2014 at 06:40 PM
We just found out the pickup date too late. What's our recourse -- drive it to another street?
Just a Medford Guy January 09, 2014 at 08:46 PM
I have a sincerely honest question on the topic. Yet it relates to the City-Wide pickup of yard waste as well. I have several trees on my property that don't release the leaves until 2-3 weeks after the final pick-up date. I bag the leaves in the correct bags - yet have to store them on my porch until the Spring to be removed. I do the same during the Fall/Winter when trees drop limbs on our property - and the sidewalk - and I have to use a chain saw to cut them into pieces (I do not have a fireplace). Aside from Condo's being an exception to the norm (unfair to them in my opinion) Do they need to get a "branch trimmer" and cut off the limbs - and then cut the tree down to the stump - and place it in a Yard Refuse Bag as well - only to wait until the Spring for it to be removed?
Just a Medford Guy January 09, 2014 at 08:50 PM
Here's a potential solution: Allow residents to drop off their live Christmas Trees at a place the City deems appropriate. The City can contract with local landscaping companies to give them access and mulch the trees to use for their business. It doesn't have to be a single company.
Marie Hayes January 10, 2014 at 07:36 AM
Last tree pick up is today, trucks are rolling. Try calling DPW and ask for Paul Gere.
Marie Hayes January 10, 2014 at 08:00 AM
JAMG, great idea! Winchester has their residents bring their trees to the town dump. As for pick up of condo yard waste, condos don't qualify for that free to all Medford residents feature. The tenant of a house abutting to our condos cut branches off our trees, leaving half a tree standing. We can only assume he took action because the branches were overhanging the condo fence by 6 inches into his yard. He dumped the branches he removed into our yard. It was a hatchet job. We to have our landscaper trim the trees so the trees would not die and remove the debris. Same situation occurs when city owned trees die and break apart or tree branches fall to the sidewalk in front of our property. We pay to have them removed so they do not become a pedestrian hazard.

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