One of the loveliest elements of the holiday season, the Christmas tree, can lose its luster pretty quickly once the new year arrives. (Crispy critter in the corner, anyone?) Good news! NYC offers some great ways to make sure your tree not only makes it out of your apartment, but gets composted and recycled to maintain the city’s parks and young trees. The truth is, there’s no reason not to mulch. Here’s how get rid of your Christmas tree and do a little green good this year.


photo: Allison Meier via Flickr

Treecycle it: MulchFest2019

MulchFest is back! NYC’s own “TREECYCLE” tradition is taking place from January 4 -13. Bring your tree (free of all decorations, netting and wrapping) and it will be recycled into wood chips to nourish trees and plants on NYC streets and gardens. Drop it off or bring it on “Chipping Weekend”, January 12 and 13, to see your tree reduced to bits live.

The city has also set up drop-off sites in every borough where you can take your tree anytime from January 4 to 13. Last year the city mulched 25,000 trees, and it’s pumped to set a new record for 2019!

Bonus: If your own backyard needs some sprucing up, you can get a free bag of mulch to take home with you after your tree is chipped.

Click here to find all Mulchfest info, including chipping and drop-off locations.


photo: via MillionTreesNYC Facebook Page

Spread the Love — and the Mulch!
Feel like spreading some of that green love around? You and the kids can volunteer to add that awesome mulch to city trees.  (The mulch helps protect young trees, shrubs and garden beds from the winter cold, helps plants retain moisture and provides a nice decorative touch.) Sound like the green, civic activity your family’s been seeking? Events are happening in all boroughs on weekends in January. Click here to see locations, dates, and times and to register! (And remember, dress warmly and wear closed-toe shoes!)


photo: via MillionTreesNYC Facebook page

Kick it To the Curb — and still recycle it!: Department of Sanitation Pick-Up
Bring your tree down for curbside pick-up by the Department of Sanitation from January 2-12. Trees will be recycled into compost for NYC’s public spaces (parks, gardens, etc.). Be sure to remove all decorations from the tree and do not place the tree in a plastic bag.

Note: trees left curbside with holiday decorations of any kind remaining on them will be collected as garbage. If your metal or plastic imitation tree has worked its last holiday season, dispose of it with your normal recycling and it’s off your hands.


photo: Philip Bump via Flickr

Have Someone Else Do the Heavy Lifting — and still recycle it!: Removal Services

If you’re unable to physically take your tree down to the curbside or to a MulchFest chipping location or drop off site, don’t worry. Services like NYC Trees can come to your home, remove the tree, and take it directly to a recycling location for you. Starting at $60, NYC Trees makes the tree removal process (and clean up!) about as easy as it gets.


—Ilyssa Smith

Main photo: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation Facebook page


Where to Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Near NYC

NYC’s Best Kid-Friendly New Year’s Celebrations

25 Things to Do with Kids Over Holiday Break In NYC