Taking down that sparkling Christmas tree is most likely on the to-do list of many Santa Barbara County residents as they move into 2014, and trash companies in most areas of the county say they'll be conducting curbside tree pickups over the next few weeks.
Different trash agencies service different portions of the county and have separate schedules for pickup.
MarBorg Industries services the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, Buellton and western Carpinteria, and MarBorg's Alma Alvarez said the company is doing curbside pickups of the old trees.
"They're being collected on the regular day, and the tree will have to be out at the curbside," she said.
Trees should be free of any non-organic materials, such as ornaments, lights and tree stands, and any trees taller than 7 feet should be cut in half, she said.
Alvarez said tree pickups can occur at any time the trash service is running, and that there's no window of time for the pickup.
"Believe it or not, we picked up a couple of trees in July last year," she said.
Carpinteria residents east of Linden Avenue are serviced by waste company E.J. Harrison, which will be picking up trees in or near green waste carts or next to trash containers on Friday.
Customers in Lompoc should place their trees next to their trash container by 7 a.m. next Monday.
The City of Santa Maria will be holding curbside collection of Christmas trees on regular city residential collection days during the week of Jan. 6-10.
For those in unincorporated Santa Barbara County, Waste Management is the company conducting trash service in most places.
Eloisa Orozco of Waste Management said that service for New Year's Day would be delayed a day because of the holiday.
"In terms of tree collection, we're asking customers to place their Christmas trees next to their trash container or inside their green waste bin by 6 a.m. on their regular collection day," she said.
That collection will be taking place Jan. 6-10 and again Jan. 13-17.
All decorations should be removed, and any tree taller than 6 feet in height should be cut in half, she said.
The company will also collect flocked trees, but they will not be recycled, she said.
People who want to get rid of their trees before those dates can bring their trees to the Waste Management Center at 1850 W. Betteravia Road in Santa Maria, open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or to 97 Commerce Drive in Buellton, which is open Wednesday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In South County, trees can also be dropped off at the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station, 4430 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas trees will be accepted for free through Jan. 11 at that location, and more drop-off locations throughout the county can be found online at LessIsMore.org
Safety should also be a consideration, as many of the trees are dried out and could present a fire hazard.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department Capt. David Sadecki said branches of a tree or needles should never be put in fireplaces or a wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, he said, it should be discarded promptly.