If I had the entire Taylor Family on Family Fortunes and I was standing at the buzzer, head 2 head with the Johnson patriarch from Hertfordshire and big Les (showing my age here) was standing there in his 80’s suit looking impatient (he filmed 5 shows a day!) and he asked me to name, ‘something I associate with Christmas?’ without even thinking, almost instinctively I would blurt out, ‘Christmas Tree!’. There’s just something about a big bushy number that gets me in the mood (steady).
As a self-proclaimed environmentalist, however, I’ve always found my evergreen addiction a tad challenging. How can I call myself an eco-warrior and yet support the deforestation of 7 million trees every year?
I'm completely allergic to artificial Christmas Tree's (not literally but figuratively!) plus they are terrible for the environment (made from pure oil!), so a fake one is out and a Christmas without a Christmas Tree is like a broken pencil... pointless!
Enter the good people at the Carbon Trust to save Christmas!
According to the emission experts buying a real Christmas Tree is actually less damaging than an artificial one (almost 80% less damaging in fact!) and they are grown a lot more locally than artificial ones (75% of Christmas Trees are grown in the U.K.) so they have a much better carbon footprint especially if you don't travel too far to pick it up.
Before you start revving up your chainsaw however, here is some friendly advice to help you minimise your environmental impact and maximise your Christmas spirit.
Buy From a BCTGA Member
All 320+ members of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association are required to follow a strict ‘code of practice’ when growing and selling Christmas Trees. This means that at every stage of the tree’s life the grower has endeavoured to reduce its environmental and ecological impact. Buyers can even request an inspection record of a Christmas Tree's supply chain, so you can find out the tree’s entire backstory.
Member’s our required to display the BCTGA logo but don’t be afraid to ask in-case you’re unsure.
Alternatively use their postcode search to find your closest BTCGA seller.
Buy a Container Grown Tree
These are trees which have been grown entirely in a container from about 15cm tall so they still have all their roots. The great thing about container grown trees is that after the Christmas period you can plant your it in a sunny spot in the garden and then next Christmas put it right back in the living room. Bear in mind that once your tree hits the 6-foot mark however, it might be a bit reluctant to go back into its pot…
This is the most important factor when trying to reduce your environmental impact this Christmas. Trees which are left to decompose on the dump produce 80% more CO2e than trees which are burnt or chipped.
Here's some more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of your Christmas tree:
• If you're lucky enough to own a log burner than chop it up for free firewood
• Most recycling centres accept christmas trees which are then chipped and mulched for compost. Find your closest recycling centre here
• If you live in a flat or don't own a car email your local council and arrange for it to be collected
• Leave it next to your green bin on green bin collection day and the council will take it away for free (Check with your council before doing this)
It's always difficult to lecture people about their environmental impact especially at Christmas, notoriously a time of excess, but with so much emphasis placed on reducing waste by the Government, it's never been easier to be eco-friendly. If Christmas is all about traditions, why not start a new one! One doesn't involve spending or throwing more away. 'The equivalent of 2 million turkeys go in the bin each year'1 and if there's one thing I can't abide that's food waste. Consider this a free pass to eat even more. I do!