If you are weighing up whether to buy a real or an artificial Christmas tree this year, let us help you with the facts.
• A real Christmas tree bought locally has the lowest carbon footprint.
• According to the Carbon Trust, who says that a real Christmas tree has a “much lower” carbon footprint than an artificial tree, particularly if it is disposed of thoughtfully.
• They state that a natural two-metre Christmas tree without roots, disposed of into landfill generates a carbon footprint of around 16kg of CO2.
• If the same sized tree was chipped to spread on a garden, it will have a carbon footprint of around 3.5kg of CO2 – an impressive four and a half times less carbon footprint.
• Interestingly, a two-metre Christmas tree made from plastic has a carbon footprint of around 40kg of CO2, over 10 times greater than that of a real tree, disposed of properly. This means that an artificial tree would need to be used for at least 10 years for its environmental impact to be lower than that of real trees that are burnt; assuming it was made to last that long.
• The Carbon Trust says that around two thirds of an average artificial tree's carbon footprint is from the plastic it is made from, which is produced from carbon intensive oil. Around a quarter of a typical artificial Christmas tree's carbon footprint is from the emissions produced when the tree is manufactured.
• Unlike artificial trees, a real Christmas tree naturally absorbs CO2. and releases oxygen and the Soil Association also highlights how a real tree provides a habitat for wildlife and captures carbon from the atmosphere during the 10-12 years they take to grow.
• Unlike artificial trees, real trees can also be recycled. Many BCTGA members and local councils across the country offer Christmas tree collection services, where used Christmas trees are picked up and recycled.
• There is no need to worry about deforestation when buying a natural Christmas tree, because the majority are grown by BCTGA members as a horticultural crop and are not felled from pre-existing forests.
• When a Christmas tree is cut down, it is immediately replaced by another seedling, with up to 10 trees being planted for every average size tree that is grown.
So, buy your real Christmas tree locally to support your local grower. Enjoy the smell and fun of buying, decorating and putting your presents under a real tree; safe in the knowledge it is truly the greenest choice.