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Christmas is over and Mulchfest is here — New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Parks Department are offering a fuss-free, sustainable way to recycle your festive fir and help foster the growth of new New York trees. 

Trees piled high for Mulchfest in DeWitt Clinton Park last year. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Environmentally-minded New Yorkers can drop off their dry trees at one of the city’s disposal locations across the five boroughs now through Sunday January 8. Hell’s Kitchen residents can drag their dilapidated trees over to DeWitt Clinton Park on 11th Avenue between W52nd and W54th Street where they will be chipped into mulch for the city’s plant beds. If you choose to drop off this weekend, you’ll also be able to watch your tree go into the chipper, and receive a bag of free mulch for your own urban garden! 

To smooth the process, make sure to remove all lights, netting and ornaments (don’t lose a memento to the wood chipper!) before taking your tree to a Mulchfest site. If you can’t make it there before January 8, the DSNY will also pick up your tree from the curb to chip and recycle it between now and January 14.

In 2022, the initiative rendered 50,600 recycled trees back into the city’s landscaping efforts, and if your New Year’s resolution is to be more sustainable, you can register to help spread mulch around the city’s tree beds this winter through the Parks Department’s Stewardship program

Trees ready for the chipper in DeWitt Clinton Park. Photo: Phil O’Brien

There are currently 2,303 street trees planted in Hell’s Kitchen, with local legislators like City Council Member Erik Bottcher promising to add more greenery to the area. Bottcher has recently pledged to plant 1,000 trees across District 3 (which includes Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, West Village, Hudson Square, Flatiron, the Garment and Theater Districts) over his tenure in office. The City Council has also allocated $600,000 in its 2023 fiscal budget for tree planting, tree guards and tree pits throughout the district. 

And if you are looking to sustainably offload your artificial tree, the DSNY and low-waste initiative Donate NYC have created a map of locations where you can turn in a plastic or tinsel Christmas tree for other New Yorkers to enjoy. Sounds like the perfect way to start 2023 on the right foot and keep landfills tree-free! 

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