The British will buy 8 million real trees this year, but there are other options that may be better for the environment
This is an annual dilemma. Are you buying artificial trees that can be used for many years, or stick to real trees that will be discarded on January 6th?
British families are expected to buy up to 8 million real Christmas trees this year, but with the growing concern about the climate crisis, many consumers want to know whether this is the most environmentally friendly option.
"The choice of the most sustainable Christmas tree will vary from case to case," said Claire Oxboro, senior sustainability analyst at Friends of the Earth. "For those who already own an artificial tree, it is better to continue using it instead of buying a new tree. By reusing the same decorations year after year, unnecessary waste can also be minimized."
According to the Carbon Trust, a 6.5-foot artificial tree causes about 40 kg of greenhouse gas emissions-which means you need to reuse it about 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than buying one every year. A real tree, depending on the material used for the fake tree.
About two-thirds of the carbon footprint of artificial trees is made of plastic. It suggests that if you are keen to buy one, you can also look for one made from recycled materials or second-hand.
If you want a real tree, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) recommends that you choose a tree planted nearby. Its website bctga.co.uk has a useful directory to help you find the company you live in.
BCTGA Chairman Hans Alexandersen (Hans Alexandersen) suggested: “Buy a tree from a local grower, they actually grow it on their land.” “If they grow in a remote place, and from Transported from point A to point B, then you have invested a lot of miles on that tree."
In recent years, the supply of domestically grown Christmas trees has increased, making it easier to avoid imports. The most popular choice is the Nordman fir, which is highly regarded for its sturdy branches and soft needles. Compared with the traditional Norwegian spruce, it falls more slowly.
Oxborrow said that renting a tree has become a popular choice for people who care about environmental impact but prefer to own a tree at home. "Once the trees are returned to the supplier after the festival, the trees will be replanted so that they can be rented again next year," she said.
However, she recommends Green Finger to explore potting options. "Those who are good at gardening are best to buy a potted tree and take care of it all year round, so it continues to get good returns after the first use."
Although leasing services may be a bit cheaper than buying a tree directly, Alexanderson is skeptical of the model that if they are not properly cared for, they will drive extra miles on the road or die anyway. If a tree is to be planted outdoors later, it needs to stay away from heat sources and stay indoors for no more than two weeks.
His own company, Hans Christmas Andersen, has farms in Surrey and Kent and cuts about one-tenth of its 800,000 trees every year, replacing each tree with a new one. "We will not go into the forest to cut trees," he said. "We planted these trees for felling, and the environment they create for wildlife is amazing." BCTGA advises consumers to wait as much as possible before buying "fresh" products.
The prices of trees vary across the country, but in the context of rising living costs, Alexanderson said that as growers recover higher fertilizer, fuel and labor costs, shoppers should pay about 5% this year.
He said: "We have incurred a lot of expenses this year." On his farm, the price of a 6-foot-tall Nordman fir or Norway spruce rose by 5 to 60 and 35 pounds, respectively. "With Brexit and the spread of the virus, things have become a bit difficult for us, and we have to pay more, which also includes labor costs."
How you deal with a real tree is actually more important than where it comes from or how you take it home. If it ends up in a landfill, its impact on the environment will be worse due to the methane released during the decomposition process.
Most local authorities now provide real tree collection services, which are chopped up and used in gardens and parks. If this is not an option, some companies will come to your house and grind it into a covering for you. If you have a paper shredder, you can make it yourself.
Costs vary greatly among suppliers. In Kent, Watts Farms advertises a 6-foot-tall locally grown Nordman fir for 48 pounds, while in the Eck Valley Christmas tree, you have to pay 50 pounds if you want to deliver it to your home At the door, freight has to be paid. Christmas Forest operates sites around London and provides delivery services. A 6-foot-long tree of the same species costs £70.
Among large retailers, at Homebase, a 6-7 foot Nordman fir is advertised for £36.75, while Wilko sells the same size tree on its website for £54.
At the Primrose Vale Farm Shop in Gloucestershire, from the first week of December to January 9, the cost of renting a 6-foot tree is £45, plus a £15 refundable deposit. If you want the same tree next year, the deposit will be withheld. The Christmas tree in the north of London has been sold out, but you can rent a 3-foot tree for 36 pounds, plus a watering dish for 4 pounds and a deposit of 30 pounds. Likewise, you can restore the same tree year after year-so one day it should reach 6 feet.
You can buy a 6-foot plastic tree from B&Q for 22 pounds or up to 184 pounds in the same store to buy a plastic tree containing 400 LED bulbs with eight lighting settings. Most retailers offer a range of different designs in a similar price range. Remember, if you plan to use it in the next ten years, you may want a classic green tree, not something weird that may become obsolete.