A start-up takes its old Christmas tree by bicycle

A pleasure that becomes a burden. After the holidays, the Christmas tree is not so popular. Gone are the days of admiring it, now we have to get rid of it. As ? The possibilities are many: waste collection center, bins available nearby according to a specific schedule or… simply rubbish.

In Strasbourg, a start-up has broken new ground since 2020: it takes care of everything. Green Phoenix collects the conifer from homes or businesses before sending it to specialists for recycling. “It’s a seasonal activity for us”, says Daniel Monjaraz, one of the five co-founders of the small company specializing in the treatment of biowaste.

“We launched this service just to see two years ago. It started out great with about fifty trees collected. Then there were 150 last year and there, we hope to recover at least 200. It is a good start”, continues the former student of the business school, who had met his partners in 2019 for a company creation contest. With success as the quintet won first prize with their project, before the launch.

Up to 6 trees per bike ride

Just over three years later, each one has their role. Aurore Gerber manages more of the accounting part. Not forgetting… pedaling! Because the collection of spruce trees and green waste throughout the year is done on a bicycle hitched to a trailer that can accommodate up to six people per lap. “Once, we put 7 cutting them”, smiles those who still study and work as an alternate within the structure.

This Thursday, only two pick-ups (against seventeen the following day!), are on the schedule. Customers booked their slot online, either 4pm to 6pm or 6pm to 8pm, and are now waiting to be released. “We only ask that they take it off in front of the house, it’s easier for us and avoids leaving the bike unattended outside”, explains the cyclist, starting from the Marché-gare where the Green Phoenix is ​​located. “Of course, if the person cannot, we will pick them up directly at their home. Once, the tree was over eight feet tall, I don’t even know how it got into the apartment! »

Half an hour of pedaling later, no unpleasant surprises at the Electricité de Strasbourg (ES) operating center located in Mundolsheim. The three small conifers are in front of the entrance and loaded in a few minutes. Put it now at the second stop, finally before the quarter of an hour by bicycle that leads there. This time, it is a private individual, a man in his thirties, who has commissioned the service. The 1.50 m spruce is patient in your garden and is also evacuated very quickly.

Mostly older customers

Why did you call the start-up? “Because we have a car but it’s very small and we didn’t see any rubbish bins near the house”, explains Yannick, refuting the idea of ​​a citizen gesture. Because he could have thrown it into the household waste by cutting it up a little or even throwing it anywhere on the street as some people allow themselves to do… “No, not to have to take care of it, I was ready to pay 20 euros. »

Daniel Monjaraz in front of the tree container. Once full, it will be transported to a recycling specialist. – T. Gagnepain

Prices vary depending on the size of the tree: from 15 euros for the smallest ones, to 25 euros for those up to 2.80 meters. “If people make a mistake, they are asked for the missing value, but that happens very rarely,” specifies Aurore Gerber. We never had any problems with customers. “Most of them would be ‘elderly’, according to Daniel Monjaraz. “Many cannot physically care for their trees and we are here to help them. There are also those who do not have a trash can near their home or are not present at the time of collection. The need is real. »

So much so that the start-up expanded its collection perimeter to the north of Strasbourg and now goes to Neudorf, a neighborhood south of the center. It also seeks to develop all its activities in other cities “such as Metz, Nancy, Mulhouse or Haguenau”.

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