We always did live trees... at the end of the season (Gulf Coast Texas) the county collects all the trees and uses them to stabilize beach erosion. Without that we'd lose significant dunes year on year.
We have a similar program here Tangor, sort of anyway. Building artificial nesting areas for our bass population. Centralized drop off point where you can take your tree and then off in the lake it goes.
Odd thing is (drum roll) "Recycling Christmas". That seems to be the going thing these days.
That said, I don't believe in waste. Back then we used to chop the tree up and use it for family barbecue fests... and other trees and brush and ... but that's not how it goes these days. Save a beach, shelter fish populations. All works, but some of it feels compelled...
Dang it, trees grow, trees die, some die a bit earlier once a year. Shut my mouth. :)