Saving the Planet – The Real Christmas Tree Debate

I might not know my Norway spruce from my Nordman Fir, but the UK on average sells over 7 million trees in the run up to the Festive period. As well as the immediate gratification and smell, a real Christmas tree can provide a long list of benefits once the tree lights are well and truly out.

Whilst growing,  real Christmas Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases, provide oxygen for the environment and can support many local rural economies. Farms that grow Christmas Trees also stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife.

Once discarded over the festive period, these unwanted trees can be recycled in a number or ways. Ball rooted trees can be planted into the garden for the year ahead, or the cut trees can be recycled into garden compost at most Council run recycling centres.

In coastal areas, you are encouraged to place your Christmas trees amongst the sand dunes, Formby in Merseyside is one such place, as it helps against soil erosion and provides a wind break for drifting sand. This has also been undertaken at Troon beach in South Ayrshire.

Zoos are always pleased to provide Christmas trees to a variety of animals, elephants particularly enjoy the bark! In January 2015, Linton Zoo in Cambridgeshire increased their footfall by providing unwanted Christmas trees for the lions to play with, whilst fishermen sink Christmas trees to provide spawning areas for fish.

In contrast, the thought of just reaching into the attic for the artificial tree does sound quite appealing. Whilst re-useable each year, the artificial tree is made of plastic and is therefore non-renewable, and does admit harmful chemicals if burnt. Over 92% of these trees come from China having a huge carbon footprint over the real tree which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere.

So whatever your choice of Christmas tree, enjoy your Festive Fir, Spruce or Pine, but remember as the Twelfth night approaches and we pack away the baubles for yet another year, think about the recycling options for the humble Christmas tree!




Published on 30th November 2016