AUSTIN (KXAN) As we head into the new year, plenty of people have begun the process of clearing out their holiday decorations.

This means tossing away tons of trash, recycling paper wrapping and bidding farewell to your Christmas trees.

According to Austin Resource Recovery spokesman Andrés Cantu, things are busy as can be for his workers.

“It is a little bit more of an accelerated schedule, he said. “A little bit of a busier time for our operators.”

Cantu also added that there’s a wide variety of items sitting on the streets.

“Be it wrapping paper, be it broken gifts, be it Christmas trees,” he said.

City of Austin curbside customers can recycle their trees by setting them at the curb by 5:30 a.m. on their regularly scheduled compost collection day.

For curbside collection, cut trees taller than six feet in half.

Another option is to drop trees off at the Zilker Park Polo Fields from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Jan. 7 and 8.

“The city of Austin has been recycling trees here at Zilker Park for over 36 years,” said Meredith Gautheir, Austin Parks and Recreation recycling program manager.

The following tree recycling guidelines must be followed for both curbside and Zilker Park recycling:

  • Trees sprayed with flocking or artificial snow are not accepted.
  • Remove all ornaments, tinsel, decorations, lights and tree stands.
  • Do not place trees in plastic bags.
  • Only natural, non-artificial trees may be recycled.

“When they’re thinking about disposing of something like a tree, it’s going to be there for many thousands of years in a landfill,” Gauthier said. “Mostly because the landfill does not receive enough oxygen.”

According to the City of Austin, holiday tree recycling keeps nearly 20,000 trees out of area landfills.

Recycling trees each year helps the city work toward its goal of reaching zero waste by 2040.

“Tree recycling is one of the best ways to keep a lot of trees out of the landfill,” Gauthier concluded. “This is a huge amount of green waste that we don’t want going to the landfills.”

Trees collected at Zilker Park will be turned into mulch and available for free on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Jan. 12 at 9 a.m.