Every year between 6-8 million Christmas trees are discarded every year. For every 40 trees that end up in landfill it costs the UK taxpayer around £100. I’m not about to be a Grinch and say don’t buy a Christmas tree, as I love all things festive in my home and a good decorated tree is top of my list. So here are some ways you can help reduce your carbon footprint and re-use/reduce your tree waste.
First off if you prefer an artificial tree then do use your artificial tree for as many years as possible, as an artificial tree can take centuries to decompose in a landfill, so stick with it, keep it stored in the attic if you have one. It can take up to ten uses of an artificial Christmas tree to get its environmental impact lower than a real Christmas tree
So moving on to disposal of real trees, here are 5 ways to reduce tree waste.
- Re-use it- Go for a potted tree and then replant your tree in a garden to give it a new lease of life, it’s surprising just how much a tree can recover even after having droopy branches from being indoors. You could make it into a new wildlife corner hanging it with feeders for birds and squirrels.
- Recycle it- Drop your tree off at a local recycling centre or check to see if your council offers a kerbside pick up on a set date in January. They will use it for chipping or compost, but do make sure your council does offer this service to prevent landfill.
- Burn it- Burn your tree in an outdoors fire pit or outdoors wood burner as it’s more preferable for the environment to burn your Christmas tree than it is to throw it in the landfill bin. According to the Carbon Trust, a real Christmas tree ending up in landfill decomposes and produces methane gas which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
- Charity – There are charity collection schemes operating throughout the UK – visit charityxmastreecollection.com to find one close to you. Or put it into google ‘charity Christmas tree collection, near me’ to find one local to you. I was surprised to find there are a few in my local area, and something I have only just learnt.
- Compost -Put it through a chipper and use for your own compost, or contact a local garden centre to see if they have a recycle scheme running. I hope that this list gives you an idea of how to reduce your Christmas tree carbon footprint for years to come and do please share with me any other schemes you may have found.