Renting Christmas Trees — A Sustainable Alternative to a Wasteful Christmas


The long-held debate on what is the more sustainable Christmas tree continues.

One might assume a fake tree to be better for the environment than a real tree, but if those faux plastic branches are destined for a life in landfill after a single use, then it’s hardly any better than opting for the real thing. At least a real tree, despite being cut down for a few weeks of display, may end up in the green bin, in compost bins, or in recycling programs, if disposed of correctly.

Experts will tell you a high-quality fake Christmas tree is the best option, especially if it’s to be used indefinitely and is sturdy enough to stand the test of time, but true traditionalists find it hard to steer away from the smell of pine. Thankfully, there may be another option — one that’s both sustainable and still allows for a real tree in the home.

Renting a Christmas tree is the sustainable new alternative making waves in the UK. A London company called London Christmas Tree Rental allows holidaymakers to rent a living Christmas tree that’s delivered to your home in a pot, before it’s ultimately returned to the same farm in January to be cared for until the next festive season.

The tree is rented out in this way every year until it grows over two-metres-tall, when it’s then ‘retired’ and planted within a forest to sequester carbon emissions for the rest of its life.

Founded by Jonathan Mearns and Catherine Loveless, the idea was born in response to the graveyard of dead trees that ended up littered all over London after the holiday season.

“We explored the rental concept and in our research we learned that seven million cut trees go into landfill each year and when they rot they emit greenhouse gasses,” founder Catherine Loveless told Bored Panda. “The average rotting 6ft tree produces 16kg of CO2. When we realised this, we felt we had to try and make this rental idea work.”

The idea is yet to make its way over to Australia, but we sure hope someone takes the lead and launches an Aussie business for rented Christmas trees soon. What an amazing idea.

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