Dry your eyes, Christmas is over. The presents have been opened, dinner has been reduced to leftovers and it is almost time to say goodbye to your tree before Twelfth Night.
Problem is the Christmas tree, while beautiful and festive, is not the most sustainable element of the festive season. Natural ones cause high levels of deforestation, and the disposal of artificial ones adds to our global plastic pollution problem.
“Approximately seven million Christmas trees are bought in the UK every year,” Beatrix Richards, Head of Forest Policy and Trade at WWF, told HuffPost UK. That’s a lot of greenery.
This year, do what you can to reduce the pollutive footprint left by the falling of our festive tree friends and follow our easy step guide.
1. Check whether your council will accept it as garden waste.
Be sure to check your local council’s website, or enquire directly with them, to find out their policy for Christmas tree disposal.
Some will be offering to collect them as garden waste (often if they have been chopped up), while others have organised designated drop-offs and tree recycling centres.
2. If you use a plastic one, use it for life (or at least for a long while).
“An artificial tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree every year,” Richards said.
So, no matter what trends may come and go throughout the years, if you’ve committed to using an artificial tree, treasure it for many festive periods to come.
3. Donate it to a local wildlife park.
Parts of your Christmas tree could serve perfectly as enrichment for zoo animals, perhaps even catnip for tigers and lions.
So check out if zoos or wildlife reserves in your area are taking donations, so that your tree can give an animal as much joy as it’s given you.
4. Replant your tree for next year.
The quicker you do it after Christmas, the more likely the tree is going to be able to re-adapt to outside conditions. Cover the tree in a pot of soil with tree mulch and fertilise it in the spring.
5. Look into renting your tree in 2018.
Start your sustainable plans for next year’s festive season now.
A range of companies offer rental options for Christmas trees, growing them locally all year around with a root-ball that allows them to be replanted after their rental time is over and they are returned.
Funky Festive even has an Eco trees option.
6. Check out charity collection options in your area.
Between now and Twelfth Night, various organisations and volunteers will collect your Christmas tree to help raise money for a good cause. Win win.
Check out the collection options for your local area here.