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O Christmas Tree

It feels like the end of an era - not just the end of festivities - the trees, so recently adorned and surrounded by presents, now cast out, forlorn on the streets, waiting to be taken away. Once they were viewed as a curiosity, sometimes a touch surreal; pavements spouting temporary trees. Now they are increasingly seen as a waste - dead trees, killed off unnecessarily, rootless and a waste of resources in the midst of a climate crisis. Old ladies tut-tut and one pensioner, contemplating a dozen trees abandoned by the rubbish bins on a street corner, complains that 'trees should stay in the ground, not senselessly wasted like this, people are so stupid.' People are now proud to 'go plastic' - for ecological, not practical reasons.

In Geneva, the disposal of Christmas trees is, in theory, an organised affair. If you leave your tree next to the usual rubbish collection points, they'll be taken away, four days a week, all the way through January. Dedicated teams with rubbish trucks especially dispatched for this purpose, roam the streets, scouring alleyways and hedges for discarded trees. Half a dozen truck loads of compressed trees, around 12,000 kg wood and needles, is sent to the incinerator. Concerns have been raised about the expense of burning the trees and the smoke caused by incineration at a time when the city has started to restrict traffic due to high levels of air pollution. An age old custom - the authentic Christmas tree - may be on it's way out, replaced by re-usable plastic.
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