Christmas Tree

Trash for Christmas Trees: How One Act of Kindness Turned Into a Holiday Tradition

"She thanked me 10 times, she couldn’t stop crying," Segal said. “I decided after that this is a good thing do.”

NBC Universal, Inc.

What started as a sweet gesture of one free tree years ago has turned into a tradition of holiday kindness. So to discourage people dumping trash, Active Recycling will give a free Christmas tree for trash. Kathy Vara reports Dec. 3, 2021.

What began as an act of kindness six years ago turned into a tradition ever year, where Active Recycling in Los Angeles gives out free Christmas trees for trash.

Years ago Errol Segal, of Active Recycling in Historic Couth Central, bought a Christmas tree for a customer who couldn't afford one.

"She thanked me 10 times, she couldn’t stop crying," Segal said. “I decided after that this is a good thing do.”

To discourage illegal dumping, he asked for one thing: Bring your trash, and get a tree.

Customers were asked to bring in "iron, cardboard, newspaper, copper, brass, aluminum, and more" at the center located at 2000 W. Slauson Ave.

For Dec. 3 only, Segal let customers dump up to 500 pounds of trash for free and get a tree. He had 1,000 to give away Friday morning while supplies lasted.

"The price of trees is very expensive due to fires, drought, and transport. They are expensive this year," Segal said.

A couple in Hawthorne got their free tree after Segal said to bring all the cardboard they could find.

“This one’s calling my name," Precious said as she picked out her tree.