Christmas trees are such an integral part of the festive season, but how do they impact our sustainable Christmas goals?
Brand new eco Christmas tree service Eco Elf makes them more sustainable by creating a tree rental programme.
It’s convenient too, allowing you to choose your tree, have it delivered and get it collected in January.
Here’s how it works.
How To Rent Your Christmas Tree This Year
Eco Elf’s sustainable Christmas tree scheme allows you to rent a Christmas tree for the festive season before it goes back to the farm.
Customers can choose their desired tree species and size online and wait for it to be delivered to their door or go and pick it up in late November to early December.
The tree comes potted rather than cut so it can be collected in January and taken back to the farm where it can continue to grow ready for next year.
This circular scheme reduces the amount of waste at Christmas and gives the tree a new lease of life.
This was the biggest reason for Eco Elf Founder Callum O’Driscoll.
He says: “I love having a big Christmas tree with all the decorations and lights, but it always seems like a bit of a waste.
“If you buy an artificial tree it’s largely made from plastic and not good for the environment, and if you buy a real tree it’s only enjoyed for a few weeks before the whole thing is chipped up.
“I knew there had to be a better way of having the joy of a Christmas tree without the environmental impact, and from there Eco Elf was born.”
The benefits of renting your Christmas tree
Although real Christmas trees are a more sustainable option than fake ones, they can still have a negative environmental impact if disposed of incorrectly.
For example, if dumped in landfill, a two-metre tall real tree with no roots has a carbon footprint of 16kg according to Carbon Trust.
This is because the tree decomposes and releases methane, a gas 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Recycling or using your old tree as kindling on a bonfire is much better, significantly reducing its carbon footprint by 80% – but what if you want to make it carbon neutral or carbon negative instead?
Christmas trees are carbon sinks
During a Christmas tree’s life cycle, it absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere as it grows.
According to recent estimates, Christmas tree-sized conifers store roughly 9kg of ‘carbon dioxide in their above-ground tissue’ and store a similar amount in their roots too.
They’re valuable carbon sinks.
They also create a habitat for local wildlife as they grow on the farms too.
Renting a potted Christmas tree allows this to continue to happen as the life cycle of the tree is extended for another year.
And another reason? Christmas trees take between five and seven years to grow to the sizes customers prefer.
“Christmas trees can take between five and seven years to grow ready to be displayed, it’s a huge effort to go and destroy it a short time later.
“Our aim is to provide a service that still brings that magical joy we all associate with the festive season in a way that’s much kinder to the planet.”
How to get involved with Eco Elf this Christmas
Choose your desired traditional Christmas tree species (there are three) and size online.
Place your order and arrange for delivery and collection. That’s it!
You can also become a Green All Year Member and get 10% off your tree hire cost this Christmas.
Plus, you can adopt and name a tree and receive the same tree back every year. This is a nice touch for families as they can see the tree grow up alongside their children.
Visit Eco Elf to find out more about potted Christmas trees for delivery and collection.
You can also read our guide for more tips on choosing a sustainable Christmas tree and what to do with it afterwards.