How to get rid of your Christmas tree

Looking for the best way to get rid of your Christmas tree?

If you have a real tree, you can “tree-cycle” it with the New York City Department of Sanitation. The department will begin its annual Christmas tree curbside collection on Tuesday, Jan. 2. and it will continue until Saturday, Jan. 13, weather permitting. The trees will be chipped, mixed with leaves, and recycled into compost for the city’s parks, institutions and community gardens.

“While Christmas trees are in our homes for only a short period of time, recycling can give them a longer life,” Sanitation Commissioner Garcia said. “After collection, the trees are turned into compost to give life to plants in our city’s parks and community gardens. We thank all residents for taking part in the program.”

Residents should remove all strands, tinsel, lights and ornaments from the tree before placing it outside.

You can also drop off a tree at NYC Parks’ annual MulchFest event on Saturday Jan. 6 and Sunday, Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations across the city. Participants can take home a bag of mulch to use in their personal gardens.

“The real fun begins when the ornaments are taken off and the tinsel comes down – because that means it’s Mulchfest time! Mulchfest is a holiday tradition for NYC Parks, extending the spirit of giving and warmth all year round by turning old Christmas trees into mulch for parks and gardens,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said.

Those who cannot attend Mulch Fest can use NYC Parks’ drop-off sites, which are accepting trees from Dec. 31 through Jan. 7. To find chipping sites or drop-off locations, visit and search MulchFest.

If you need to get rid of a fake tree made of plastic and metal, simply remove all decorations and place them out next to your recycling on regular recycling days.

Last year, the department collected over 242,000 trees.

For more information on Christmas tree collection and recycling or MulchFest, visit, or call 311.