Updated: Mar 9
4 sustainable options for your Christmas Tree
Who doesn’t love the smell of a real Christmas Tree? It’s one of my favourite things about Christmas and something I would struggle to forsake. In fact, thankfully, real trees are more eco-friendly than artificial trees. The carbon footprint is higher for an artificial tree, which are typically imported from China and also cannot be recycled. So that’s good news for a start.
The Carbon Trust estimates that a real tree (properly recycled after Christmas) generates 3.5kgs of carbon dioxide, while an artificial tree generates 40kgs (it takes 10 to 12 years of using the artificial tree to cancel out the emissions). So, if you bought an artificial tree this year, you would not start to have a positive environmental benefit until after 2030!
Option 1 – Real Christmas Tree - Locally grown, cut tree, with no plastic netting
If you opt for a real Christmas Tree, try to make sure you are buying a locally grown tree. Each conifer absorbs over a ton of carbon dioxide a year and generally in Ireland, each tree cut down is replaced with one or two new trees. Another thing you can look out for is the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. As an aside, Noble fir has a better smell and needle retention than Nordman.
Delivery and avoiding plastic
IrishChristmasTree.com have a large pop up shop in Milltown, Dublin 6 and they will allow you to bring along a rope which they can use to tie up your tree for delivery.
Pick your own tree options include Kellehers Christmas Trees, Naas (who do biodegradable string wrapping and deliveries to Dublin, Kildare, etc. for €15), Glencullen Christmas Tree Farm (who can also deliver the tree without the plastic netting). You could choose to make this a new family tradition.
Compost your tree after Christmas
After Christmas, bring your tree to a Local Authority waste depot and it will be turned into mulch for parks. Dublin City Council accept tree for free after Christmas and post the details in January.
Locally sourced trees, which are composted afterward are sustainable and environmentally friendly. So you can enjoy the fragrance of a real tree in your living room without feel guilty.
Option 2 – Grow your own tree
Another option is buying a pot grown Christmas tree. However, you can only keep it inside for about a week, after which you’ll need to keep it outdoors. In addition, most of these are actually “potted” rather than “pot grown” and don’t survive well. They are also very heavy, so might not be a very practical option for you. Another option if you have the patience, is the “Grow Your Own Christmas Tree Kit” from Reuzi (€29) (www.reuzi.ie) but clearly this is a long-term project!
Option 3 – Decorate a tree in your garden
Another option is to put Christmas lights on an existing tree in your garden. This is a lovely idea and if you are doing this just make sure you pick LED lights that are suitable for outdoors.
Option 4 – Cardboard Tree
There are some “trees” available now which are made from recycled cardboard. You and the family can assemble and decorate them. For example, Reuzi (www.reuzi.ie) sell “DIY 3D Christmas Trees” which are made from recycled cardboard (€18). This might be a good option if you don’t have the space for a real tree
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