Every year around six million Christmas trees bring festive cheer to our homes and offices.
In my family we gather round, mulled wine in hand while Mum finds the Christmas carol CD that’s been around forever and we decorate the tree. It’s hard to see what could be wrong with something so romantically and definitively Christmas.
But Christmas trees can be very damaging to the environment:
- The vast majority of the trees we buy from garden centres and garage forecourts are intensively farmed on an industrial scale.
- Christmas trees are typically sprayed with potent fertilisers and herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate), affecting local biodiversity.
- According to the Fair Tree project, the majority of seeds for Christmas tree production originate in Georgia. Cone pickers climb pine trees of up to 30 meters, collecting seeds under risky and primitive conditions.
- Only 10% of Christmas trees are recycled in the UK each year.
The good news is that there are solutions to making sure that your Christmas tree doesn’t cost the earth. Here at CAT we are lucky, we cut down trees from our sustainably managed woodlands.
Here is this years Christmas tree being transported in our electric vehicle sponsored by Good Energy.
But if you haven’t got your own woodland, here are some ideas for keeping your Christmas tree green:
- Rent a tree. You choose the tree and the supplier digs it up for you, delivers it to your home, complete with a sustainable root system. On the 6 January, the tree is picked up, replanted and grown on for next year.
- Both the Soil Association and Forest Stewardship Council have lists of retailers that offer sustainably sourced Christmas trees.
- Prune a bigger pine tree or use an interesting shaped branch as an alternative Christmas tree.
- Plastic trees are not eco friendly- it’s another piece of plastic, made thousands of miles away and shipped across the globe.
- Make sure you recycle your Christmas tree. Most local authorities offer Christmas tree collection points.