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21 eco-friendly Christmas tips. Trees (1-5)

How to ease off the rampant consumerism without seeming a bit of a Scrooge at Christmas. Our 21 cockle-warming tips for a greener festive season… first up Trees.

It can feel like an annual dilemma. A real Christmas tree seems a more natural choice, but up to 8 million of them are bought every December in the UK alone. That’s a lot of intensive production, and potentially a lot of waste.

It’s true that fake plastic trees last for years – and nowadays they can look very realistic. But they do take enormous amounts of energy to manufacture. And it’s yet more synthetic waste to be disposed of in the future.

So let’s look at the options in more detail…

1. Artificial trees

If you’ve got a fake tree already, keep using it – make it last as long as possible. But look into more environmentally-sound options when it eventually comes to replacing it.

If you do want to get a fake one, for whatever reason, try Freegle , Freecycle , eBay  or Gumtree  for a pre-loved one.

2. Real trees

If you want to be reassured that your tree has been grown sustainably, not in a way that’s environmentally damaging, look for the FSC-certification  logo. If you want a tree that’s certified as organic and pesticide-free, get one that’s approved by the Soil Association .

3. Grow your own

Buying a potted tree with roots lets you grow it outside and use it again next year, reducing its environmental impact and costing you less. But they do need some looking after, and you’ll need a big pot. Read these expert tips on caring for Christmas trees in pots .

Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit radical or non-traditional, get a large perennial indoor plant – like a yucca, palm, fig etc – and just decorate it at Christmas time.

4. Recycling real trees

Far more Christmas trees get recycled now than even 10 years ago. Most councils have allocated locations where people can leave their tree after Christmas (take the decorations off first!). Or you can usually take them to your nearest municipal tip/recycling centre.

The trees are shredded, then used as mulch on plants in parks, or on woodland paths (for a lovely instant pine-forest smell!). Or else rotted down and recycled as compost.

5. Tree rental

More and more places (such as garden centres and plant nurseries) now offer a Christmas-tree hire service over the festive season. Sounds like a good solution – they’ll often even deliver and collect the tree to save you the hassle. And the tree can carry on growing after it’s returned.

But the same caveats apply as buying your own tree: make sure it’s grown sustainably by looking for either the FSC or Soil Association logo.




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