Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree!

For those who celebrate Christmas, the Christmas tree is usually the centre piece for the decorations and celebrations; it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the tree! But what is the most environmentally friendly option for Christmas trees? (You might be surprised by the result – I certainly was!)

Artificial Christmas Trees:  
They are easy to keep, their needles don’t drop and they seem the dream solution if you are allergic to real trees, but in actual fact artificial trees are the least environmentally friendly choice! Probably made in China out of PVC, polyurethane foam and steel, they keep for years to come. Unfortunately, they will also last in landfills for decades to come. If you have one already (like me – see we all make mistakes!), please don’t add insult to injury and promptly throw it away; at least use it to its full potential and who knows, there might be a solution for them by the time you are ready to get rid of it!

Choosing a Living Tree:  
As long as your tree has been sustainably grown in a UK forest, a real tree is the greenest option. During their life on special plantations, Christmas trees remove harmful greenhouse gases, provide important wildlife habitat and each year in the UK two trees are planted for every one sold. For more information please visit the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

Life After Tree:  
A few options here: You can choose a tree with living roots that can be replanted after Christmas and used again next year. If you need to dispose of your tree please make sure to recycle it. Of the 7.5 million trees bought, less than half of these are recycled. Councils offer free recycling or you can return them to the farm you bought them from, where they will be chipped and used as mulch or path surfacing.

A Tree-Free Christmas?  
Instead of spending the money on a tree you could make a donation to the Woodland Trust to help preserve ancient habitats. Further afield charities such as Rainforest Concerns work in countries such as Ecuador, Colombia and Sri Lanka to protect rainforest eco-systems and indigenous people that rely on them. You could contribute to their work by sponsoring an acre of forest. For all those with artificial trees this would be an ideal way to balance out your artificial tree at home!

For more information on the Woodland Trust please CLICK HERE

For more information on Rain forest Concern please CLICK HERE

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