What happens to your Christmas trees once on the street?

What happens to your Christmas trees once they're out on the street?

The day after the storm, François picks up the last fir trees in the streets of Saint-Léonard.

Wanting to know what will happen to natural trees once the Christmas holidays are over, the Métro newspaper followed two employees of the Matrec company during their last collection round, on January 19.< /p>

It is 7:30 a.m. and the employees of Matrec  – a company that deals with the collection of household waste, organic matter and recycling  – are ready to begin their last round of collection of natural trees. Storm or not, every January they walk the streets of all the neighborhoods of Montreal.

After having received their roadmap from their superior, François and Gérard embark in their truck for a long tour.

Armed only with a good pair of warm mittens, François picks up the trees while Gérard drives the truck. “A jobno more trying than picking up compost or recycling,” he explains.

Each day, between 50 and 60 60 fir trees are harvested by the duo. The volume of their collection can vary, but on this day, since it is the last round, the quantities are less.


The number of tons of Christmas trees that were collected by the cities of the Montreal agglomeration in 2021.

André, supervisor and manager at Matrec, explains that during the first rounds, nearly 200 trees can be picked up in the Saint-Léonard sector, where he officiates.

Precision work

At the wheel of his imposing dump truck, Gérard has to make his way through the small streets and juggle the other vehicles he encounters as well as the mountains of snow that have not yet been picked up.

François alternates between getting out of the cabin and balancing on one leg in the back of the truck. The instruction to place the fir trees at the edge of the sidewalk, the trunk in the direction of the road, then takes on its full meaning. A way to limit handling for the employee in question and to lift too heavy loads over a long distance.

What happens to your Christmas trees once in the street?

After the storm, the traffic of dump trucks can sometimes be very complicated/Yohann Goyat, Metro media

And after?

After more than five hours of picking up as many fir trees as they can, François and Gérard drive their truck to one of the two wood recycling sites located in Montreal.

The GFL (Green For Life) Environmental sorting center generates nearly 400,000 tons of organic matter each year in its facilities. “Capturing and composting organic waste is a key factor in long-term sustainable waste management solutions,” says the firm.

The trees will be recycled into products such as compost, wood chips and mulch. Either the wood is recycled or it is used for energy recovery. “The wood crushed into chips is transported to companies that burn it for energy purposes,” explains the City of Montreal. This material is used as biomass for the production of electrical energy.

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