Each year, around 25-30 million Christmas trees are sold in the US. The aftercare of these trees — when the gifts are gone and the ornaments are stashed back in the attic — plays a huge role in their environmental impact. Old Christmas trees are often thrown into landfills, where they take centuries to break down and create methane in the process. Luckily, across the North Fork, there are eco-friendly alternatives to the landfill. From rebuilding sand dunes to feeding hungry farm animals, you can give your Christmas tree a new purpose this year by recycling it at one of these local spots:
*Note: all recycled trees must be free of all ornaments, tinsel, or sprays.
Browder’s Birds, Mattituck
This self-serve farm stand is accepting tree donations to feed their flock of long-woolen Cotswold Sheep. “Pine is a natural dewormer and a good source of vitamin C,” explained co-owner Holly Browder. No appointment is required, but they ask that trees are dropped off on the east side of the farm stand during business hours. Browder’s Birds is open every day from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is located at 4050 Soundview Ave in Mattituck. The farm’s owners can be reached at (631) 477-6523.
Goodale Farms, Aquebogue
Goodale Farms will be accepting trees through the end of January for their livestock — no appointment necessary. The farm is home to a herd of goats, which forage on and receive trace nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals from the old Christmas trees. You can drop a tree off at the stand anytime from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and a staff member will place it in the enclosure. Goodale Farms is located at 250 Main Rd in Riverhead and can be reached at (631) 901-5975.
Catapano Dairy Farm, Peconic
This award-winning dairy farm is also home to a herd of Saanen goats that love to munch on leftover Christmas trees. Call ahead of time to get directions on where to drop off your tree. Catapano Dairy Farm is located at 33705 County Rd. 48 in Peconic and can be reached at 631-765-8042.
8 Hands Farm, Cutchogue
The 28-acre, sustainable family farm feeds old trees to its sheep, goats, and cows. Trees can be left on the front patio entry to the farm store. 8 Hands Farm is located at 4735 Cox Ln in Cutchogue and can be reached at (631) 494-6155.
The Village of Greenport
If you live in the village of Greenport, the highway department will be coming around to pick up old Christmas trees and take them to Orient State Park, where they will be used as erosion barriers. Residents of the village can start bringing their trees to the curb. The pick-up time has not yet been determined and will be dependent on weather conditions.
The Town of Southold
Christmas trees can be dropped off at no charge at the town of Southold’s compost site on Cox Lane in Cutchogue. The trees will be ground down for mulch, which town residents are able to use. Each resident is allowed 500 pounds per year of compost or wood chips free of charge.