One of the wonders of a nice fir tree for the holidays is that they can stay beautiful for a while. But the bummer is getting rid of the tree. The Department of Sanitation encourages city residents to clear out their trees by mid-January, as its annual Christmas tree curbside collection starts on Friday, January 5 an runs through Tuesday, January 16. Here's how it works:
Residents should remove all tree stands, tinsel, lights, and ornaments from holiday trees before they are put out at curbside for removal. Trees must not be placed into plastic bags. Clean, non-bagged Christmas trees that are left at the curb between Friday, January 5th and Tuesday, January 16th will be collected, chipped, and then mixed with leaves to make compost. The compost will be processed and subsequently spread upon parks, ball fields, and community gardens throughout the city.
In January 2006, the Department collected over 156,000 discarded Christmas trees.
In other words, it seems like you take your tree out yourself (unless your building/super has another procedure, but does the super really want to lug out everyone's tree?).
Sanitation workers want the pick-up time extended because there are so many of them. One worker told the NY Sun, "There can be hundreds of trees. I hear guys complaining that there are just so many trees that they just can't finish their routes." But one problem with leaving Christmas trees for too long is that they dry up and become fire hazards. Which is why the Department of Sanitation encourages fake Christmas tree use - not to mention other trash-reducing ideas like using newspaper as wrapping paper and giving gifts that don't need wrapping.
One good way to "reuse" your Christmas tree is to participate in Mulchfest. The Parks Department is holding Mulchfest on January 6 and 7 at 66 city parks. Drop off your tree and you get mulch and wood chips.