I’ve been seeing so many trees being sold in the streets and people starting to buy them that I thought it’d be the perfect topic to inaugurate the eco friendly and ethical Christmas series. Because contrary to many people may think, the trees that really puts the Christmas vibe in our homes are not at all “merry” for our Planet Earth.
Natural or Artificial?
The main dilemma for conscious souls that are looking to lessen their environmental impact.
Artificial trees may sound like the most sustainable option as they do not involve cutting down living trees and releasing carbon in the atmosphere but look closer and it might not be. Usually made of PVC, one of the most environmentally damaging forms of plastic, they may contain lead which is not a very christmassy surprise right? Moreover, most artificial trees come from…. (Drum roll), China, involving a considerable carbon footprint in order to transport all the trees to consumer countries.
Moreover, studies differ on the exact number of years but in order to be the eco-friendliest alternative, it would have to be kept between 10 and 20 years. That’s the time it would take to have less environmental impacts that buying a real tree and it’s mostly linked to the materials it’s made off and the fact that it’s non biodegredable once disposed.
So, let’s buy a real trees then, right? Well, hold your hoses and keep reading.
While they used to come from the wild (chopping wild trees was not so good either), most real christmas trees nowadays come from specialized farms which are a perfect example of monoculture: the same crop cultivated on a large area. Moreover, less than 1% come from organic farms meaning that 99% may and have probably been exposed to pesticides of all kind and we all know how good these are for the health and the soils.
If you’re considering this option, try purchasing the tree at a local shop where the seller might actually know the origin of your tree and its production conditions. Avoid supermarkets, warehouses and other big retailers offering suspiciously low prices as that probably means that your tree comes from far away and/or has been grown using eco-unfriendly methods. And recycle it after christmas! If you live in France or Belgium, find out how to dispose it and if there’s a specific service for recycling, don’t just get rid of it on the streets. Not only is it pretty sad… it also shows little consideration for mama earth.
One of the best solution if you still want that live tree feeling but also care about where it goes next? A living one in a pot! Now you’re probably thinking: how the heck am I supposed to keep a living tree alive for a WHOLE MONTH. And I feel ya as I’ve never been the best gardener myself. But it’s actually not that hard. Avoid placing it near sources of warmth (radiators, fire places etc), don’t buy it too early and water it abundantly to help it keep its needles and increase its chances of survivals once it’s back in the wild!
If you live in Paris/France, you can order yours to be delivered at your home in a pot and then returned to its forest to keep growing if it has been taken good care of, or recycled at:
If you’re in Brussels, I havn’t been able to find a company that offers the service of picking up your tree to replant it so it’s up to you if you have a garden to attempt the process or give it to Bruxelles Propreté who will then recycle It!
Final Answer: natural over artificial unless you plan on keeping the artificial one for 10+ years. The real one should be In a pot if you bought it from a company that offers replanting of If you’re able to do so in your own garden otherwise cut but preferably with an eco friendly label to guarantee its production methods.
Why don’t we try something different?
If you feel like having a real or real looking Christmas tree isn’t that important to set up the mood, why don’t you try something a little different this year? Does DIY ring a bell? It refers to the Do It Yourself movement. And when it comes to Christmas trees, there’s so much you can do yourself that have a much lower environmental impact that purchasing!
While there’s always the options of not having a tree, you can also use waste such as branches picked up on your walk or discarded cardboard that you can work into a tree during a DIY workshop with the kids or some friends!
Or make use of objects you already have in the house such as books, plastic bottles, or even just a ladder! The possibilities are endless, just check out some of them below and let me know what you're planning on doing for your christmas tree!
From Donna at the amazing http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/2012/12/a-treeless-ladder-christmas-tree-day-10.html