Each year 6 million Christmas trees are bought by households in the UK in December. Only 10% of these are recycled with an estimated 967,000 thrown away and not recycled in London alone.

Come the twelfth night, which is the traditionally the time when people take down their decorations, believing it to be bad luck to keep them up past this date, trees are thrown out and strewn across pavements all over the UK ready for collection come the first rubbish collection day of January.

These are trees that have been left out in the cold on the twelfth night in my local area of London, Twickenham. These photographs are of some of these disused trees which were are all within 1/4 mile of my front door taken on the twelfth night. I photographed over 50 trees, with approximately 20 on one street alone. This was just a small area of suburbia, across London, scenes were replicated, with hundreds of thousands lying in the cold.

Photographing these trees was a saddening experience. Christmas trees are bought with much excitement, cherished, lovingly decorated and admired, to be then thrown out uncaringly when all the excitement and bright lights fade away. As the trees were slowly dying in the bitter cold air, their droop and yellowing brought a air of death to each of them and a death to Christmas for another year.

Local Councils do offer recycling services and 9 out of 10 are doorstep, however, unfortunately most people do not take up this offer and opt for an easier and quicker route to bring an end to their Christmas, out the door and out of sight. 

Published by Positive Magazine here.

© Chris Marchant
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