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Exploring the Most Sustainable Christmas Tree Options

by Lisa Clutterbuck 04 Dec 2023 0 Comments
Exploring the Most Sustainable Christmas Tree Options

Are you contemplating the most eco-friendly choice for your Christmas tree this year? Whether it's a real tree or an artificial one, the environmental impact is worth considering. In this comprehensive guide to sustainable and ethical Christmas trees, we'll navigate through the options to help you make an informed decision.

Christmas trees are synonymous with the festive season, but their environmental cost is a growing concern. With approximately seven million real trees purchased annually by UK households, alongside countless artificial alternatives, the quest for the most sustainable Christmas tree is on many minds.

Real vs. Artificial: Unravelling the Eco-Friendly Enigma

If you're partial to the authentic charm of a real tree, fear not. According to The British Christmas Tree Growers Association, real Christmas trees boast a smaller carbon footprint than their artificial counterparts. A two-metre real tree properly disposed of post-Christmas has a carbon footprint of around 3.5kg of carbon dioxide, significantly less than the approximately 16kg emitted by a landfill-bound real tree.

Sourcing Sustainably: Where to Find Your Real Christmas Tree

To further enhance your eco-friendly efforts, consider purchasing locally grown trees. In Scotland, Caring Christmas Trees, affiliated with the Bethany Trust charity, offers sustainably grown options supporting local communities. In England, the Forestry Commission's Christmas tree sales centres provide locally grown, sustainable choices, with profits reinvested in forest conservation.

Caring for Your Christmas Tree: Tips for a Green Season

To maximize the lifespan of your real Christmas tree, take a few proactive measures. Upon bringing it home, trim a couple of centimetres from the base to open up pores, promoting water absorption. Utilise a water-holding stand, position the tree away from direct heat sources, and maintain daily watering to keep your tree thriving throughout the festive season.

Eco-Friendly Farewell: Proper Tree Disposal

Once the festivities conclude, dispose of your tree responsibly. Shred and compost it, use it in a wood burner (after proper seasoning), or take advantage of local council recycling programs. Alternatively, plant a rooted tree in your garden or explore community groups for suitable planting spaces.

Unveiling the Eco-Impact of Artificial Trees

Contrary to the eco-friendliness of real trees, artificial alternatives bear a higher carbon footprint. The Carbon Trust reveals that a 2-meter plastic artificial tree emits around 40kg of CO2. To outshine the environmental impact of a real tree, the artificial counterpart must be used for at least a decade.

Choosing the Right Artificial Tree: A Green Approach

If opting for an artificial tree aligns with your long-term plans, invest in a high-quality, classic-shaped green tree. Consider avoiding built-in lights for easy repairs and explore eco-friendly options by purchasing second hand trees through platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

Beyond Real and Artificial: Other Sustainable Options

For those seeking alternatives, consider a potted Christmas tree for an eco-friendly and budget-friendly option. Purchase UK-grown varieties like Blue Spruce or Nordman for a lower carbon footprint. With proper care, these trees can thrive indoors during the festive season and outdoors in your garden throughout the year.

Potted Tree Care: A Seasonal Guide

For optimal potted tree care, avoid bringing it indoors too early, acclimatize it gradually, and ensure moist soil without waterlogging. After Christmas, transition your tree outdoors during the day and indoors at night until it adapts to outdoor conditions. Repotting every 2 to 3 years ensures sustained growth, allowing you to cherish the memories associated with your tree for years to come.

Rent a Tree

Another innovative and eco-conscious option gaining popularity is renting Christmas trees from reputable services like,, or exploring options featured on Renting a tree allows you to enjoy the festive tradition without contributing to the waste associated with disposable trees. These services often provide potted trees that are rented for the season and then returned for replanting or reuse in subsequent years. This sustainable approach not only reduces the environmental impact but also ensures that the same tree can bring joy to multiple households over the years. Renting a Christmas tree aligns with the principles of a circular economy, making it a practical and eco-friendly choice for those seeking a greener holiday tradition.

In the quest for a sustainable and ethical Christmas, the choice of your tree plays a crucial role. Whether opting for a real tree, an artificial one, or exploring alternative options, a thoughtful approach ensures a greener festive season.

Christmas tree branches with lights
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