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Recycling Reminders: Christmas Trees and Polystyrene, Needles and Bags

From taking away your Christmas tree to purging your home of plastic bags, the city’s recycling and trash collections can help you safely clean up from the holidays and year-round.

Place Christmas trees at the curb for pickup on regular recycling and trash collection days after removing all ornaments and metals, wires, stands and decorations, including tinsel. Trees should not be bagged. There is no deadline for curbside collection of trees. Or, recycle branches and needles by using them as ground cover under trees and shrubs or chopping them up and adding them to a compost pile. Artificial trees should be placed in the gray trash cart for regular weekly collection. Artificial trees that are too large to fit in the cart can be collected by appointment as one of six bulk collections allowed per year. For bulk-waste disposal info, visit

The City of Rockville collects used polystyrene as part of its weekly trash collection and takes it, along with other refuse, for disposal in the county’s waste-to-energy incinerator. Often mistakenly called “Styrofoam,” the material, commonly used to protect package contents during shipping, should not be placed in recycling carts. Instead, place it in the gray trash cart.

When disposing of needles, such as medical sharps and syringes, use containers made of heavy-duty plastic that close tightly with a puncture-proof lid. This prevents our recycling and trash collection crews from getting stuck. Label the container and place it in the middle of your household trash in the gray trash cart – or find a disposal program. Learn more at

Got a city recycling or trash cart that’s falling apart? Call 240-314-8568. We’ll replace it for you.

Find a store that accepts plastic bags for recycling. Visit

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Rockville Reports is the official publication of the City of Rockville, published at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850-2364.