Christmas tree pine needles

Top tips for a more sustainable Christmas

Starting, of course, with your Christmas tree!

Struggling to be sustainable over the holidays? Whether you want to avoid waste, give plastic the cold shoulder or just want to get a bit creative over the festive period, we've put together a few top tips to make your Christmas tree even greener this year.

christmas trees

1. Choose a Grown in Britain certified tree

A new report1 published by Grown in Britain says new tree pests and diseases could be hitchhiking their way into the UK on some of the tens of thousands of Christmas trees that are imported every year. By choosing a Grown in Britain-certified tree, you’ll be sure you are getting a tree grown in the UK and you’ll also be helping reduce the risk of unwanted pests spreading to this country. 

Check out our map to find your nearest Forestry England tree shop.

2.    If you want to go that little bit extra, opt for a potted tree

Grown to around 3 to 4 feet tall, potted trees may be smaller than your typical Christmas tree but they can literally last a lifetime. Once they’ve been the focal point of your living room for the holiday season, potted trees make fantastic patio plants with a little love and care. Or, if you have enough garden space, plant your tree to grow and thrive after the holidays– it’ll also help provide food for wildlife like siskins, who love to eat seeds from spruce trees.

You can pick up a potted Christmas tree at the following Forestry England sites: Dalby Forest, Whinlatter Forest, Bedgebury Pinetum, Moors Valley Park Country Park & Forest, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, New Park in the New Forest, Wyre Forest, Cannock Chase Forest, Delamere Forest and Sherwood Pines.
 

Forestry Commission staff inspecting trees for aphids
Christmas Tree with Baubles

3.    Re-use Christmas decorations and avoid single-use tree decs

For many, unboxing and dusting off Christmas decorations marks the start of the holiday season. It’s also a great time to get the whole family involved by making your own decs.

If you do need to top up your collection, choose sustainably sourced decorations and avoid lametta (single thread) tinsel which isn’t recyclable, can be difficult to remove from branches, and can pose a hazard to pets who might get tangled in it or swallow it.

4.    Choose FSC of PEFC certified Christmas cards and wrapping paper

A sustainable Christmas doesn’t have to stop at your family’s tree, it’s also about the many trees around the world that have gone into making Christmassy products like wrapping paper, as well as Christmas cards – a whopping 1 billion of which are sold in the UK each year.

Look for the FSC or PEFC logo2 to be sure that your cards and wrapping paper have come from well managed forests that support local people, or give old newspapers a second life as Christmas wrapping paper – and make sure to recycle everything when you’re done!

Wrapping a christmas present with decorations
Close Up Christmas tree pines

5.    Recycle your tree

There’s nothing sadder than the sight of a real Christmas tree in a plastic bin bag on the curb ready to go to landfill after the holidays. After the last decoration has been taken down and thoughts of Christmas are a distant memory, visit your local authority website or Recycle Now to find out how to recycle your tree.

Many local authorities offer a drop-off or curbside tree recycling service, and your tree will be put to good use by being chipped and used locally. 
 

Notes: 

1. "A new report published by Grown in Britain says new tree pests and diseases could be hitchhiking their way into the UK on imported Christmas trees." Read the full report.

2. "What it means when you see the FSC labels on a product." Read more. And more details about PEFC at www.pefc.org

 

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