MulchFest lets you get rid of your Christmas tree for free

Recycle your Christmas tree at Mulchfest in New York City. Above, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver mulches a tree during a preview of the event on Jan. 5, 2017. / Corey Sipkin

Every holiday tree can be a giving tree, thanks to the city’s MulchFest program.

New Yorkers can drop off their trees (sans tinsel, lights and decorations) at locations around the five boroughs this week where they will find a second life as mulch for city parks.

The program was started in 1996, the result of a search for an environmentally friendly way to dispose of the scores of trees purchased during the holiday season. Last year, 26,119 trees were recycled.


“Instead of throwing your tree away this year, help make our city greener by recycling it at MulchFest,” said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “MulchFest is a wonderful opportunity to reduce waste, improve our parks and gardens, and to get kids in the habit of year-round green living.”

From Jan. 6 to 7, people can witness the magic of mulching 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at parks across the city — and even walk away with a bag of chips to feed their own gardens.

At Central Park, people can drop off their trees at West 65th Street and East 106th Street. Chipping will take place at West 81st Street.

Those who just want to drop off the trees can do so all week. The Sanitation Department will also pick up trees to be recycled during curbside collection through Jan. 13 — just make sure all ornaments have been removed. Last year sanitation workers picked up more than 242,000 trees.

Sanitation will also pick up plastic and metal artificial trees left at the curb.

For a list of drop off sites, MulchFest locations and other information call 311 or go to