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How to Get Rid of Your Christmas Tree Without Clogging a Landfill

By Della Hasselle | December 28, 2011 2:46pm | Updated on December 29, 2011 9:13am

MANHATTAN — If your Christmas tree is starting to droop, but you don't want to see it end up in a landfill, there are plenty of options for recycling it in 2012.

The Department of Sanitation will begin curbside tree pickup for recycling on Jan. 3 - 14, or New Yorkers can drop off their trees at 17 Manhattan locations starting Jan. 2 - 8 as part of MulchFest, the city's annual tree-chipping event.

“By recycling their Christmas trees, New Yorkers support the environment and the MillionTreesNYC initiative, by providing wood chips that help trees, flowers and shrubs grow. In addition, it reduces waste going to the landfills," said Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe said.

The city will start picking up clean, unbagged trees at curbs across the city starting Jan. 3. The Parks Department and the Department of Sanitation recommend that New Yorkers remove all tinsel, decorations, and other items before leaving the trees on the curb, and asked that the trees not be placed in bags.

The city collects approximately 140,000 trees for recycling per year, they said.

The city moved up the start date for MulchFest to give New Yorkers extra time to recycle their dried-out trees. The city shreds the trees into mulch chips that can be used to nourish living trees and plants in streets and gardens throughout the city.

Starting Monday, people can begin dropping off their trees at locations ranging from Downtown's Bowling Green to Highbridge Park in Washington Heights.

New Yorkers can also watch the trees be shredded live on Jan. 7 and 8 in Bowling Green, Tompkins Square Park, Washington Square Park, Stuyvesant Town, the Upper East Side's Carl Schurz Park, the westside's Riverside Park and Sherman Creek Center, located in Inwood.

The Parks Department will give away biodegradable bags filled with the mulch on those days for anyone who wants to bring it home to their gardens.

Last year, nearly 17,000 trees were turned into mulch. The city is hoping to break that record this year by offering a total of 70 mulching sites citywide, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told DNAinfo.

The initiative helps New York become more green, Benepe added.