Mulch-loved: Mulchfest returns with curbside pickup and 23 Brooklyn drop-off sites

christmas trees get chipped at mulchfest
Into the chopper: Parks Department employees toss old pines into the wood-chipper.
File photo by Caleb Caldwell

Christmas is over, which can only mean one thing: Mulchfest is back!

As the holiday lights dim, and Brooklynites turn their earnest eyes towards the New Year, hundreds of thousands of once-dazzling Christmas trees will return to the earth — as the city’s Sanitation Department will shred the evergreen trees into nutrient-rich compost to nurture New York’s plants and flowerbeds. 

Last year, the department collected more than 29,000 trees, and reused them to reinvigorate the New York City soil during the post-Christmas Mulchfest mania. 

Brooklynites can put their trees out to the curb any time between Jan. 6 and Jan. 15, and DSNY, using what they call the “Best Smelling Collection Trucks in the City,” will come to pick them up and take them away to their next life.

Prospect Park mulchfest
A Parks Department truck unloads newly-chipped mulch in Prospect Park at Mulchfest in 2018. File photo by Taylor Balkom

If that’s not soon enough, Mulchfest is already on until Jan. 9 at dozens of the city’s local parks, and New Yorkers can haul their beloved trees to the closest one to see their evergreen friend begin its journey to the next life. And, if you want to take your chipped tree home with you to mulch your backyard or your favorite neighborhood street tree, head out to “Chipping Weekend” on Jan. 8 and 9 to get a bag of mulch on the spot.

“Mulchfest is back, and we’re proud to partner with DSNY once again to offer New Yorkers the opportunity to recycle their holiday trees,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “Mulch is used in parks, playgrounds, tree beds and greenspaces across the city, and is nourishing for the environment. Whether leaving clean trees on the curb, or dropping off at one of our 74 park locations, we urge all City residents to take part in the celebration and recycle their tree this holiday season!”

Whether you’re putting the tree out to the curb or bringing it right to the woodchipper, Parks asks that you remember to take off all the lights, ornaments, tinsel and beads — plastic and glass don’t make good compost.

Millions of households across the U.S. purchase live Christmas trees each year — and while the environmental impact of live versus artificial trees is unclear, responsibly disposing of a live tree reduces waste and boosts the local environment when the tree is reused as mulch or compost

If sent to landfill, Christmas trees and other organic materials produce dangerous greenhouse gases. Properly-handled compost has fresh air, space, fungus and bacteria to allow healthy decomposition, resulting in a nutritious soil additive perfect for trees and garden beds, whether they’re in your yard, along the curb, or in city parks.

Find a list of Mulchfest sites, including those participating in “Chipping Weekend,” below. 

  • Amazing Garden, 261 Columbia Street, Columbia Waterfront District 
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2 parking lot at Furman Street — Chipping Weekend site
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5 at Bridge Park Drive
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fulton Ferry Landing at Old Fulton Street and Furman Street — Chipping Weekend site
  • Brooklyn Heights Promenade at Columbia Heights and Cranberry Street
  • Brower Park at Brooklyn Avenue and Prospect Place
  • Cobble Hill Park at Clinton Street and Verandah Place — Chipping Weekend site
  • Coffey Park at Dwight and Verona streets
  • Domino Park at River And South 3rd streets — Chipping Weekend site
  • Fort Greene Park at Washington Park and Myrtle Avenue — Chipping Weekend site
  • Green Space at President Street, 222 Fifth Avenue
  • Herbert Von King Park at Marcy and Lafayette avenues
  • Maria Hernandez Park at Suydam Street and Knickerbocker Avenue — Chipping Weekend site
  • Marine Park at East 33rd Street and Avenue U — Chipping Weekend site
  • McCarren Park at Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue — Chipping Weekend site
  • McGolrick Park at Monitor Street and Driggs Avenue
  • Myrtle Village Green at Kent and Myrtle avenues
  • Owl’s Head Park at 68th Street and Colonial Road – Chipping Weekend site
  • Prospect Park at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue
  • Prospect Park at the park circle on Parkside Avenue — Chipping Weekend site
  • Prospect Park at Third Street and Prospect Park West  Chipping Weekend site
  • Sunset Park at 44th Street and 6th Avenue
  • Washington Park at Third Street and Fifth Avenue