Christmas tree recycling: the gift that keeps on giving

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Return your Christmas tree to the wild, where it belongs. Photo by Bridge and Tunnel Club.

What better way to start of the new year than by having more garbage than usual? Assuming that you had enough money to temporarily house and dress a small tree in your apartment this holiday season, by now you’re probably stepping around a carpet of pine needles that is slowly increasing in size. And with that, it’s time to take care of the first chore of the new year: throwing out your Christmas tree.

If you were a pretentious socially-conscious consumer, perhaps you purchased an organic tree this year, thereby removing one layer of guilt about returning your dry and used tree to the earth. The rest of us will stew quietly in our shame as we contribute to the forest of abandoned trees felled upon the sidewalks of Brooklyn as we wait in vain for the Sanitation Department to come retrieve them.

Just kidding! They totally got this, you guys. It’s true, this city sure can screw up a lot of things, but Christmas tree collection is not one of them. According to Community Board 2: “Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty has announced that the Department of Sanitation will begin its annual Christmas tree curbside collection and recycling program on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. The program will run through Saturday, January 12.”

But wait! There’s more. Not only will your tree be swept gracefully from the curb, but “clean, non-bagged holiday trees that are left on the curb will be collected, chipped, and made into compost.” The compost will then be used all over city parks and recreation areas. I know, right? Just think about the summer, when you’ll inevitably be frolicking with your WiFi in the park or getting drunk and playing kickball or greening the city. When someone stops to comment on how fertile the soil seems this season, they’ll know who to thank: you.

So do your part and take all the crap off your tree. No tinsel, lights, or ornaments, and don’t put it in a bag.

If you feel that the borough’s parks and gardens have enough mulch and would like to embark on a project of your own, you can also hit up “Mulchfest” next Saturday and Sunday, January 12 and 13, where city workers will chip your tree and give you your very own bag of mulch. MulchFest will be taking place in three locations: Cobble Hill Park, Fort Greene Park, and Prospect Park.

So be a good citizen and mulch on, friends. Mulch on.

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