How to Recycle Christmas Trees in the City of Torrance

City of Torrance Offers Free Christmas Tree Recycling!

From December 26, 2018 through January 10, 2019, City of Torrance residents will be able to recycle their Christmas trees along with their regular curbside collection.

Trees must be unflocked (no fake snow), less than six feet long (without cutting), and undecorated (no stands, tinsel, or ornaments). 

How-To: Trees can be up to six (6) feet long without needing to be cut. Then, place the tree at the curb at least four feet from your automated containers by 7:00 a.m. on your regularly scheduled collection day between Monday, December 26, 2016, and Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Other Options: Christmas trees put out for collection before or after the recycling collection dates, or flocked trees (with fake snow), must be cut up and placed in the regular (black) trash container for removal. Unflocked Christmas trees six (6) feet or smaller can be placed directly into the green waste container and will be collected during normal collection times.

Note: The large item collection program will not be available during the curbside Christmas tree recycling program. Remember that it takes at least a week to schedule the large item pick up, so please plan accordingly. For further details visit the Public Works Christmas Tree Recycling webpage.

For multifamily homes, businesses, and those not serviced by Torrance Sanitation, LA City Sanitation offers free tree pick-up and several tree drop-off locations. Please visit their webpage for the dates, locations, and all the details.

For more information, call City of Torrance Public Works Department at 310-781-6900.

What happens to my Christmas trees when they’re recycled?

  • The City of Torrance chops up the Christmas trees they collect and turn them into mulch and landfill cover. The City offers free mulch giveaways year-round at Lago Seco Park. Visit the Public Works Department for more details.
Is there a more eco-friendly, sustainable option for Christmas trees?
  • Yes! You can “rent” a living Christmas tree (one that has not been chopped down) and have it delivered to your home or business for the holiday season. You can visit Living Christmas for more details.

Got Rechargeable Batteries? Heed the Call2Recycle!

Did you know it’s illegal to dispose of rechargeable batteries in the trash? Because rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals, they are classified as a Hazardous Waste. Whereas metals like lead, cadmium, zinc , and cobalt can pollute land and water when improperly disposed of, when recycled, these heavy metals from batteries can be reclaimed and used to make new batteries. Recycling rechargeable batteries not only reduces pollution, it conserves natural resources and reduces the energy costs involved in making new materials.

There are several different types of rechargeable batteries: lithium ion, nickel cadmium, small sealed lead acid, and nickel metal hydride. All rechargeable batteries different from single-use batteries (like common household AA, AAA, 9V and D-cell batteries). Single-use batteries cannot be recharged and must be disposed of once they run out of charge. You can find out how to properly dispose of single-use batteries here.

<em>Portable walkie-talkies, cordless power tools & cell phones all use rechargeable batteries.</em>
Portable walkie-talkies, cordless power tools & cell phones all use rechargeable batteries.

One of the most common types of rechargeable batteries are cell phone batteries. Rechargeable batteries are also found in cordless phones, laptops, cameras, cordless power tools, etc.

The good news about recycling rechargeable batteries is that there are many convenient drop-off locations around the country. Call2Recycle, a product stewardship program devised of battery manufacturers, has been recycling all types of batteries for over 20 years. Call2Recycle has partnered with retail locations to provide drop-off boxes for rechargeable battery recycling free of charge.

Not sure if you have single-use or rechargeable batteries? Check out the Battery Recycling Guide from Call2Recycle and watch the video below to learn more.

You can dispose of rechargeable batteries in the City of Torrance:

Take to a designated Call2Recycle drop-off location. Click here for a complete list of Call2Recycle drop-off locations.

What happens after you drop-off your rechargeable batteries? Check out this infographic from Call2Recycle on the lifecycle of your old batteries.

How to Recycle Old Mercury Thermostats: Remove, Replace, Recycle

Dispose of Old Mercury Thermostats Properly with Thermostat Recycling!

It is ILLEGAL to throw away mercury thermostats! Remember the Three R’s: Remove, Replace, Recycle!

Most modern buildings built in the past twenty years use programmable, LED-display thermostats, but you’ve undoubtedly seen the old school mercury thermostats at plenty of homes and businesses. Like any item containing mercury, thermostats are classified as a universal waste, and must be recycled. Mercury is a bio-toxin hazardous to our health and can cause serious environmental damage if improperly disposed of in landfills.

To encourage the proper dispose of mercury thermostats, Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), a non-profit made up of thermostat manufacturers, has developed a product stewardship program. TRC has partnered with Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) wholesalers, thermostat retailers, and Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection sites, to collect old mercury thermostats from the public in a drop-off program. Now, proper recycling of old thermostats is easier than ever!

In 2017, nearly 18,000 mercury thermostats were recycled under this program in California alone.

Since the Thermostat Recycling Corporation launched in 1998, they have collected more than 2.4 MILLION thermostats; that’s more than 11 TONS of mercury diverted from the waste stream.

You can recycle your old mercury thermostats at the following locations:

Take to a local participating program take-back wholesales.  Click here to search for drop-off locations by zip codes.

You can also recycle mercury thermostats at an LA County-run, HHW S.A.F.E. collection center. Click here for a list of local HHW collection centers.

Please call collection sites for hours of operation and to confirm their participation in the Thermostat Recycling program.

To learn more about Thermostat Recycling, check out this video and visit the Thermostat Recycling Corporation’s website.


Torrance Used Oil Filter Exchange Program

As part of the City of Torrance’s used oil recycling program, the City hosts a series of filter exchange events at auto parts stores around town. Since February of 2017, Torrance has hosted five (5) filter exchange events for residents.

Events are held once a quarter at Used Oil Certified Collection Centers on Saturdays, 9am–1pm. At filter exchanges, Torrance residents who bring in an old oil filter to recycle receive a voucher for a free, new filter to redeem in-store.

Many auto parts stores like AutoZone and O’Reilly participate in the statewide used oil recycling program by taking back motor oil & filters from the public and recycling them for free. Remember when doing your next oil change to call your local auto parts store to see if they are a Used Oil Certified Collection Center. And don’t forget the filter! Check Recycle Torrance for dates and details of the City’s next scheduled filter exchange event, or call (562) 944-4766 with any questions about the City of Torrance’s Used Oil Recycling Program

2017-2018 Filter Exchange — By The Numbers

  • # of Events: 5
  • # of Participants: 150
  • # of Filters Collected: 357
  • Gallons of Oil Collected: 262


<em>Residents who recycle their oil or filters at a City of Torrance filter exchange can receive oil change supplies, like a 6-quart oil drain container, shop towel, and funnel.</em>
Residents who recycle their oil or filters at a City of Torrance filter exchange can receive oil change supplies, like a 6-quart oil drain container, shop towel, and funnel.


<em>Giving away filter exchange supplies at the February 17, 2018 filter exchange at AutoZone. </em>
Giving away filter exchange supplies at the February 17, 2018 filter exchange at AutoZone.

Used Oil & Filter Recycling — Did You Know?

  • Did You Know In California, 1 in 5 households have a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) oil changer.
  • Did You Know There are more than 2,600 Used Oil Certified Collection Centers in California. There are 24 in Torrance.
  • Did You Know If improperly disposed of, the oil from a single oil change (1 gallon) can pollute as much as 1 million gallons of drinking water. One million gallons is enough to supply drinking water for 50 people for a year.
  • Did You Know In the U.S., less than 60% of the motor oil sold is recycled.
  • Did You Know Recycled motor oil is often turned into re-refined oil. Re-refined oil is more energy efficient, better for the environment, costs less to produce, and just as effective as virgin motor oil. Recycling one gallon of motor oil produces 2.5 quarts of re-refined oil.
  • Did You Know Even after draining, a typical used motor oil filter retains more than 10 fluid ounces of oil. Disposing of oil filters in the trash is illegal.
  • Did You Know Metal oil filters are made of steel, another recyclable resource. If all the metal oil filters sold in America each year were recycled, that would result in the recovery of about 160,000 tons of steel!
  • Did You Know DIY oil recyclers who recycle their motor oil at a Used Oil Recycling Certified Collection Center are eligible to receive 40 cents per gallon of oil brought in.


<em>Torrance residents recycle at the City’s December 9th, 2017 filter exchange at O’Reilly Auto Parts. </em>
Torrance residents recycle at the City’s December 9th, 2017 filter exchange at O’Reilly Auto Parts.


<em>Did you know? Motor oil never wears out or “goes bad,” it just gets dirty. Recycling motor oil cleans out dirt, impurities, water and other liquid contaminants so the oil can be re-refined and used again and again.</em>
Did you know? Motor oil never wears out or “goes bad,” it just gets dirty. Recycling motor oil cleans out dirt, impurities, water and other liquid contaminants so the oil can be re-refined and used again and again.


<em>Both the used motor oil and the steel in automotive filters can be recycled.</em>
Both the used motor oil and the steel in automotive filters can be recycled.

Torrance Residents Celebrate Earth Day on April 21, 2018

Torrance residents can celebrate Earth Day this year by recycling paper and electronic waste at the City of Torrance’s Earth Day Recycling Event.

Doing some Spring Cleaning? Take advantage of the City of Torrance’s Earth Day Recycling Event to dispose of old paper documents and electronic waste safely, responsibly, and for FREE!

  • When: Saturday, April 21, 2018 / 8am to 12noon
  • Where: Torrance City Hall employee parking lot / near the Torrance Courthouse, off Maple Avenue (map)
  • How: Remember, ONLY bring paper for shredding* and electronic waste for recycling; NO Household Hazardous Waste accepted.**
  • Why: To keep Torrance Clean and Green!


*Limit 8 boxes or bags of paper per vehicle; no magazines, file folders, 3-ring binders, or books.

**Hazardous wastes include batteries, paint, medications, flourescent lightbulbs, and Sharps. To learn where and how to recycle Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), please see visit our HHW page.


Have questions about this event? For more information, contact City of Torrance Public Works at (310) 781-6900, or visit

Where Can I Recycle Old Medications? National Prescription Drug Take Back Day 2018

Most of us know how to recycle bottles and cans, but have you ever wondered: what do I do with expired medications?

If you have old prescriptions clogging up your bathroom cabinets, take them to an authorized drop-off site during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

On April 28, 2018 from 10am to 2pm, over 300 facilities across California will take back prescription medicines from the public at no-cost.

To find the nearest drop off location near you, search by your zip code.

Why Recycle Medicines?

  • Prevents illicit drug abuse, poisoning and overdose
  • Keeps harmful chemicals out of waterways
  • Good for the health of the community and the health of the environment

During last October’s Take Back Day, over 70,000 pounds of prescription medicine was collected across California.

Visit The DEA’s Drug Take Back Day page for more info. To learn about more hazardous waste recycling in the City of Torrance, please visit the City’s website.























Celebrate America Recycles Day in Torrance!

Every year on November 15th, tens of thousands of people organize and attend recycling events all over the U.S. in celebration of America Recycles Day (ARD). So far this year, over 2,300 recycling events have been organized and registered on the ARD website by environmentally-minded citizens from all across the country.

Residents of Torrance have an opportunity to get into the environmental spirit during the City of Torrance‘s annual Torrance Recycling Event on Saturday, November 18th. From 8am–12noon, Torrance residents can recycle their electronic waste (e-waste, like computers, TV, cell phones, etc), and get free paper and document shredding services.


To learn more about this great community clean-up event and register to attend, visit Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day event page.

Don’t live in the City of Torrance? Don’t worry! Simply enter your zip code on the America Recycles Day ‘Upcoming Events’ page to find an ARD event near you.

Join Heal the Bay in Strawless Summer

Help reduce plastic litter by skipping the straw!

Heal the Bay is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of the Greater Los Angeles area safe, healthy, and clean. For over thirty years, Heal the Bay has been the Southland’s strongest advocate for the ocean.

Litter from plastic debris is a huge problem in Southern California oceans and waterways. In fact, by 2050, it is now estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean by mass than there are fish!

The most common form of plastic debris comes from beverage containers: plastic lids, cups, bottles, sleeves, stirrers, six-pack rings, and yes, straws. According to Heal the Bay, nearly 40% of all debris found in the environment is beverage-related.

Not only is plastic litter unsightly and gross, it’s dangerous. Marine mammals, fish, and birds can choke on litter, causing sickness, injury and death.

The City of Torrance is uniquely situated within the Dominguez Channel, a 70,000 acre watershed, extending from LAX to the Los Angeles Harbor. With Madrona Marsh, one of the only urban wetlands in Southern California, and 1.5 miles of Pacific coastline, the City of Torrance is one of the most geographically diverse areas in Los Angeles, and one of the most reliant on waterways for its natural beauty.

Litter is a constant problem in all densely-populated, urban areas, and the City of Torrance is no exception. Heal the Bay estimates that collectively, Americans use roughly 500 million plastic straws per day–enough to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times. Most of these plastic straws end up in landfills, but too many end up as litter in our local waterways.

To reduce litter from plastic straws, Heal the Bay is launching a new initiative:

Strawless Summer!

  • Make a commitment to Skip The Straw and visit Heal the Bay for details.
  • Enter the #StrawlessSummer contest to win free concert tickets.
  • Remember to reduce plastic debris from beverage containers by using reusable water bottles and coffee cups.

To learn more about reducing plastic pollution in Southern California waterways, Take Action. To learn more about keeping City of Torrance waterways clean, visit the City’s Stormwater homepage.

Keep Torrance Beautiful!

Join Keep America Beautiful in its Fight to End Littering!

Keep America Beautiful is a leading national nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beauty their community environment. For more than six decades, Keep America Beautiful has served as our country’s nonprofit steward of litter prevention.

Over 51 billion pieces of litter appear on U.S. roadways each year. Litter has environmental consequences. Wind and weather, traffic, and animals move litter into gutters, lawns and landscaped areas, alleyways, and parking structures. Litter near storm drains and beach debris are also likely to wash into local waterways, with potential for serious environmental contamination.

Help Stop Littering! It starts with you…

  • Choose not to litter. Make the commitment now and take the “Be Recycled” pledge with thousands of other Americans.
  • Remind others not to litter and why.
  • If you’re a smoker, carry and use a portable or pocket ashtray.
  • If you see litter, pick it up.
  • Volunteer to help prevent and cleanup litter.

Participate in Keep America Beautiful’s exciting programs this Fall. Registration opens Monday, August 1 for Recycle-Bowl and America Recycles Day. The theme for America Recycles Day this year is “Be Recycled.”