Recycle your Christmas tree on Long Island (2023): here’s where and how to do it

A person repurposing their Christmas tree

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The holiday season has come and gone, and it’s time to start thinking about recycling your Christmas tree.

Don’t just toss it out – there are many great benefits to recycling your Christmas tree, and it’s easy to do right here on Long Island.

From mulch to wildlife habitats to composting, there are plenty of creative ways to repurpose your tree after the holidays.

Read on to learn more about where and how to recycle your Christmas tree on Long Island in 2023.

What is Christmas tree recycling?

Christmas tree recycling is breaking down your Christmas tree into usable parts for composting, mulch, and other uses. Like all things recycling, it’s often overlooked and trees are tossed to the curb.

Did you know: an estimated 10 million Christmas trees are thrown away in the U.S. each year?

But there are many benefits that positively impact the environment and your community when you recycle your tree.

Benefits of recycling a Christmas tree

Recycling your Christmas tree has several benefits, including:

Nutrients for soil

When recycled properly, Christmas trees can provide a boost of essential nutrients for local soil. This is especially true for areas that may be experiencing soil degradation.

The needles, bark, and sap of the tree are all packed with nutrients like potassium and nitrogen, which can help replenish soil in need of fertilization.

Reducing waste in landfills

Recycling a Christmas tree can also help reduce waste in landfills. By recycling a tree, you are contributing to a more sustainable world and helping to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills each year.

Habitat for wildlife

Christmas trees can also offer much-needed habitat for local wildlife. Owls, woodpeckers, and other birds often use the branches of a tree for nesting and shelter.

Also, wildlife can also benefit from the nutrients provided in the soil.

Supporting local businesses

Recycling a Christmas tree helps save natural resources and helps local businesses, like compost facilities. Compost facilities turn recycled Christmas trees into mulch for gardening and landscaping.

This reduces the need for artificial fertilizers, which can be harmful for the environment. Compost facilities also provide jobs and help the local economy.

Resource for mulch

Finally, recycled Christmas trees can provide a significant source of mulch for local gardens including your own. The mulch helps to lock in moisture, suppress weed growth, and protect the roots of plants from the elements.

Now that you know the benefits of recycling your Christmas tree, let’s talk about how to prepare and where you can recycle it on Long Island.

How to prepare a Christmas tree for recycling

Before recycling the tree, it’s important to prepare it for the process.

Step 1: Remove all decorations

The first step to preparing a Christmas tree for recycling is to remove all decorations. This includes lights, ornaments, garlands, and any other decorations. Be sure to keep track of all small parts and pieces, as these can easily be recycled.

Fun fact: The idea of Christmas tree lights was created by Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward H. Johnson, in 1882.

Step 2: Cut the tree into pieces

Once all decorations are removed, the tree should be cut into smaller pieces for easier disposal. A chainsaw or a handsaw can be used for this step.

Now that your tree is prepped, let’s take a look at recycling options in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Where to recycle a Christmas tree

On Long Island, there are limited options for recycling your tree.

Look in the list below to see if your town or city has a recycling program available for Christmas trees.

Towns and cities

Each municipality on Long Island has its own set of rules and availability for recycling and disposal of Christmas trees.

Nassau County

  • City of Glen Cove There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Glen Cove but you can look at Glen Cove’s garbage collection site for other recycling information.
  • City of Long Beach There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Long Beach but you can look at Long Beach’s recycling calendar for other recycling information. For tree disposal: This season, Christmas trees will be picked up on regular residential sanitation days. Please place your Christmas tree curbside for collection on your designated sanitation pickup day.  Trees will be collected in a separate garbage truck from trash collection.
  • Town of Hempstead Mulchfest is a great event in Baldwin Park, NY, where Hempstead residents can dispose of their Christmas trees in exchange for a bag of mulch. Cardboard boxes accumulated over the holiday season can be dropped off on January 7 and 8. Christmas trees can also be dropped off from January 3 to January 6, from 9 am to 4 pm. The event will take place on Sunday, January 8, 2023, from 10 am to 2 pm, at Baldwin Park (View Facility: 3232 Grand Avenue, Baldwin, NY 11510). Best of all – it’s free! For tree and related holiday disposal: “Christmas trees, wreaths, and yard waste will be collected in the Town of Hempstead on January 11,  2023.”
  • Town of North Hempstead There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in North Hempstead but you can look at North Hempstead’s recycling site for other recycling information.
  • Town of Oyster Bay There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Oyster Bay but you can look at Oyster Bay’s recycling site for other recycling information.

Suffolk County

  • Town of Babylon There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Babylon but you can look at Babylon’s recycling calendar for other recycling information.
  • Town of Brookhaven Smith Point County Park in Shirley, NY, which lies between Fire Island and Westhampton Beach, will take real Christmas trees for the park’s dunes through January 15. Trees can be left behind the east booth from 8am to 4pm.
  • Town of East Hampton There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in East Hampton but you can look at the East Hampton Recycling Center site for other recycling information.
  • Town of Huntington There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Huntington but you can look at Huntington’s trash & recycling calendar for other recycling information.
  • Town of Islip There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Islip but you can look at Islip’s environmental control site and recycling calendar for other recycling information.
  • Town of Riverhead There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Riverhead but you can look at Riverhead’s sanitation site for other recycling information.
  • Town of Shelter Island There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Shelter Island but you can look at Shelter Island’s Recycling Center site for other recycling information.
  • Town of Smithtown There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Smithtown but you can look at Smithtown’s Refuse and Recycling calendar for other recycling information.
  • Town of Southampton There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Southampton but you can look at Southampton’s recycling guide for other recycling information. For tree disposal: Christmas trees are accepted free of charge from January 1 thru January 31 (limit 3)
  • Town of Southold There are no Christmas tree recycling programs in Southold but you can look at Southold’s recycling site for other recycling information.

If you’re unable to recycle your Christmas tree, but you don’t want to dispose of it there are ways you can repurpose it. Here are a few ideas.

7 ways you can repurpose a Christmas tree

  1. Use the tree in your garden as a habitat for wildlife.
  2. Create a natural mulch with the needles to fertilize your garden.
  3. Gift the tree to a local park.
  4. Turn the tree into wood chips and use it as a walkway in your garden.
  5. Use the branches to create a compost bin in your garden and nourish your plants.
  6. Use the branches to create bird feeders and invite feathered friends.
  7. Turn the tree into a windbreak or privacy screen and shield your outdoor space.
  8. Create a living wall by planting the tree in a planter.
  9. Craft decorations from the tree and spruce up your outdoor space.

Conclusion

Recycling your Christmas tree is a great way to help the environment and reduce waste.

On Long Island, there are only a few towns that offer a recycling program but most other towns and cities offer curbside pickup for Christmas trees.

And there are many other ways to repurpose your tree, such as creating a natural mulch, creating a compost bin, or crafting decorations for your outdoor space.

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FAQs

How do you throw away a Christmas tree on Long Island?

Most towns and cities on Long Island offer curbside pickup for Christmas trees on your regular yard waste day.

Check with your local waste management department for the dates when they will pick up trees and holiday waste.

Author

Cristina Morizio

Long Island real estate agent Cristina Morizo
As an experienced REALTOR® and Long Island native, I know the ins and outs of the real estate market. I help home buyers, sellers, investors and homeowners navigate and negotiate. Questions? Ready to buy or sell? Let’s talk!

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