“Recycle” Your Christmas Tree – MulchFest at Washington Square Park Today, Saturday, January 9 | Parks Citywide


Today, Saturday, January 9th, is the last day to dispose of your Christmas tree and have it “recycled” into mulch at a city park through a joint effort between the New York City Parks Department and the Department of Sanitation. “Chipping” – the trees go through a “chipper” – will take place at Washington Square Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and locations across the five boroughs (some drop-off only). The mulch is used to “nourish” other city trees so it’s put to good use. (If you miss it, see other options below.)

From the New York City Parks Department:

Wrap up your holiday season and say goodbye to your tree at Mulchfest. Join NYC Parks and the New York City Department of Sanitation in the NYC holiday tradition of recycling your Christmas tree!

Put on your boots and haul your tree to a Mulchfest location — we’ll chip your tree into wood chips that we’ll use to nourish trees and make NYC even greener.

More than 50,000 trees were recycled last year. Help us top this number!

Please remember to remove all lights, ornaments, and netting before bringing the tree to a Mulchfest site. Bring your own bag if you wish to take some free mulch home.

Please wear a face covering and practice social distancing by remaining at least 6 feet apart from others.

The program began on December 26th this year. In 2018, the Parks Department stated that 28,000 trees were chipped so the number went up significantly last year. Mulch is available at many locations, not all, but will be available at Washington Square Park. You can bring some home to nourish a tree on your street.


I side with Phoebe from “Friends” watching the trees go through the “chipper” (see video below) but this fate is better than ending up in a landfill. The trees are chopped into wood chips which are used to “nourish” trees and plantings citywide.

If you can’t make it to Mulchfest, the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is picking up Christmas trees curbside January 4th through January 15th. The 311 site notes that if any ornaments or lights, etc. are still attached, that tree will be picked up as “regular trash.”

I’m a little conflicted on Christmas trees overall tho’ admittedly they make the holiday season festive. Cutting a living tree down and particularly for such short usage … If I did have one, I would keep the tree as long as possible. It feels sad when people put them out on the street the next day!

DSNY suggests the following on how to make your own mulch: “cut off the smaller branches of your Christmas tree and remove the twigs from evergreen boughs. Lay three to four inches of these trimmings over the bare soil around street trees or in your garden.” You can pick up some mulch from Mulchfest at the park and do the same.

A Look Back:

Check out these photos of Mulchfest and this time of year park happenings in 2014 here.

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Post with updates from this week’s Community Board 2 meeting addressing WSP to come.

Photo: Cathryn

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