What’s Going On Here?
Investing in a re-usable Christmas tree may seem more sensible than cutting down a real tree every year, but you would have to re-use the fake tree up to 12 times to make up for its carbon footprint.
What Does This Mean?
According to the British Carbon Trust, if a natural tree ends up as splinters for woodwork or burnt as firewood, it has a 3.5 kg CO2 carbon footprint. But, if a tree ends up decomposing in a waste dump, then its footprint significantly increases to 16 kg.
The carbon footprint of an artificial tree (often metal and PVC) is a whole lot bigger, reaching 40 kg of CO2, so it would be more sustainable to re-use it for at least 12 years, compared to a natural one which ends up as splinters.
Why Should We Care?
Christmas trees are a big business, with over 80m used around the world each year! The most popular type of Christmas tree in the UK is the Nordman fir. It takes about 10 years for one to grow up to 6ft absorbing CO2 as it grows, helping to keep its footprint down vs plastic. But if you bought an imported tree, such as a a Norwegian
Ridgeback Spruce, then its carbon footprint shoots up because of shipping. Another consideration when choosing between real vs fake christmas tree.
So… when it comes to buying that tree. real vs fake christmas tree:
1. Buy local & FSC certified
2. Buy with roots / potted
3. Plant in the garden and re-use next year. If you don’t have a garden try a neighbour or the local wood!
(There are plenty of YouTube vids on re-planting Christmas trees, this one is fairly useless… but we did find it funny)
Send us your best Christmas tree snaps to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram at @curious.earth.hq