Written by Natalie Finnigan

Where to buy a sustainable Christmas tree

Looking for sustainable Christmas tree options? Are real Christmas trees sustainable? More so than artificial ones? The festive period can be a minefield in terms of sustainability, but you can have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas with these green choices…

Untold amounts of plastic, packaging and food waste make the festive period one of the biggest carbon emitters of the year; but thankfully, the world is waking up to the need for sustainability, and things are changing.

One of the biggest ways you can make an eco-friendly difference? Buy a real Christmas tree.

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sustainable Christmas tree from the Christmas Forest

The Christmas Forest contributes 16,000 trees to Tree Aid every year

On the face of it, it may seem more damaging to cut down a real tree only to dispose of it at the end of the season; but in fact, it can benefit the environment more than harm it. This is because it takes farmers around eight years to grow an average Christmas tree. During this time, each tree is playing its part in helping the planet by consuming carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, filtering the air and removing greenhouse gas emissions.

Artificial trees cannot be recycled and could sit in landfill sites for more than 400 years before decomposing. Real trees, on the other hand, can be recycled and used as mulch for your garden, which improves soil quality and reduces weed growth.

‘It takes around eight years to grow a Christmas tree, during which time it is consuming carbon dioxide and producing oxygen’

Alternatively, if your tree still has its root ball, why not replant it? Rooted trees can be replanted up to two weeks after being in your home (any longer than this and they can’t readjust to the natural environment). Just keep it away from heat sources such as fireplaces and radiators, and water it daily.

If you’re considering converting to real trees, Good Homes magazine picks out five sustainable Christmas tree suppliers who deliver nationwide…

1. On Cloud Pine

Grown on Scottish farms but delivered nationwide, On Cloud Pine offers a wide variety of trees, including Fraser Fir trees, which are becoming popular for their silvery green foliage. Prices start at £35 for a 4ft Norway Spruce or Nordmann Fir. When their trees have been harvested, each farmer ensures at least two trees are replanted as a replacement, meaning more are planted than cut down each year. The company is committed to using hybrid vehicles for travel, reducing carbon emissions through transportation. They also invest in carbon reduction projects, which have a bigger effect on removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and sell decorations crafted from recycled materials. Even their tree wrapping is biodegradable! See oncloudpine.com

2. The Christmas Forest

Delivering nationwide from stores across London, The Christmas Forest is transparent about the environmental impact buying real trees has on the planet. Their trees are not grown organically – all trees are sprayed for pests and chemically fertilised while growing, but there’s no pest spraying within three months of harvesting the tree. However, since it takes an average of eight years to grow a tree, this provides years of habitation for birds and other species to benefit. They also make an annual contribution of 16,000 trees to Tree Aid, to those most in need around the globe. Their classically-shaped Norway Spruce trees have a fresh forest scent and deep green colour and are the most affordable tree on offer – a 3ft Spruce starts from £34 and sizes go all the way up to 12ft. See christmasforest.co.uk

ikea christmas tree voucher 2021

IKEA’s Christmas tree voucher scheme is back for 2021

3. Good Elf

These expert elves promise to pick the best Christmas tree for you and deliver it fresh to your door, wherever you live in the UK. Starting from £44.99 for a 4ft Norway Spruce and extending up to a huge 15ft, for every tree that’s cut down, two more are planted. To reduce environmental impact, they also offer a real tree rental service. Your tree is delivered before Christmas and collected for recycling afterwards – they’ll even deliver it ready-decorated in the colour of your choice. Note: nationwide-delivery trees from Good Elf are cut trees. To rent a tree with a rootball, you’ll need a local supplier – search for Christmas tree rental companies near you. See goodelf.co.uk

4. Patch Plants

Known for its houseplants, Patch also sells Christmas trees, which come in a range of colourful pots to increase their lifespan. Starting from £8 for a miniature 20-30cm tree, different species can range up to 80cm tall. Okay, so they might not be as majestic as a 12ft Norway Spruce; but planting them outside after the Christmas period will allow them to grow bigger each year. Offering free standard delivery to anywhere in the UK for orders over £50, the packaging used is minimal, and Patch has committed to both reducing carbon emissions by 42% and to having no net impact on the climate by 2030 through their organisation or supply chain. See patchplants.com

5. Ikea

Believe it or not, you can buy a real Christmas tree from IKEA. To reduce the carbon footprint, stores in England and Scotland will be stocking trees locally-grown in Scotland; and IKEA Cardiff will stock trees grown in Wales. Tree prices start at £9 and range up to £29 for a Nordmann Fir, and as a thank-you for buying a real tree, customers also will receive a £20 voucher to spend in store. After the festive period, IKEA is encouraging customers to recycle their trees, either in their own gardens or by handing them to the local council. Note: this offer is not available from IKEA Manchester and Leeds. See ikea.com

Lead image: Pezibear on Pixabay

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