The Christmas holiday season has passed, and New York City’s annual Mulchfest is back again, having started on Dec. 26. The program will run until Jan. 9, 2022, and gives New York City residents the chance to recycle their holiday trees by turning them into mulch at Mulchfest drop-off or chipping locations. The mulch will then be used to nourish trees or to reinforce street tree beds. 

The only Bushwick Mulchfest drop-off site is at Maria Hernandez Park, located at Suydam Street and Knickerbocker Avenue, according to the map provided on the NYC Parks website. You can use the map to find a Mulchfest location near you. If you’d like a “tree-mento” and the chance to take home some free mulch of your own, you can bring in your Christmas tree during Chipping Weekend, which will take place on Jan. 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Remember to remove all ornaments and other decorations from your tree. 

The holiday tree drop-off site at Maria Hernandez Park. 

On the other hand, the Department of Sanitation will have curbside pickup of clean Christmas trees for recycling from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15, as long as weather permits. The trees are mulched and mixed with leaves to create compost for New York City’s parks, institutions and community gardens. Trees left with decorations will be collected and disposed of as garbage.

For more information on how to dispose, donate or recycle artificial trees, be sure to visit the curbside collections website.

A small holiday tree left on a sidewalk in Bushwick. According to the Department of Sanitation, placing the tree in a recycling garbage bag is not needed. 

According to a December 2021 press release, the New York City Parks and Sanitation Department has been mulching trees for 20 years, making Mulchfest a green and family-fun New York City holiday tradition. There are currently 74 Mulchfest locations citywide.  

According to park officials, over 29,000 trees have been recycled in 2020 and they’re looking to top it this year!

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Mulchfest season and spreading mulch throughout the city’s parks and green spaces, you can become part of the New York City Parks’ stewardship team.  

If you’d like to volunteer but want to stay local, there will be a Mulchfest event at Maria Hernandez Park on Jan. 8, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where volunteers will get the chance to learn about the cultivation, mulching and aeration of street trees and their importance to the New York City landscape.

You can register here to join New York City’s Park Department and the Clean Bushwick Initiative. Be sure to come in closed-toe shoes and clothes you’re willing to get dirty, as this will be a hands-on experience! 

All images: Allie Iliana Herrera

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