The potted Christmas tree is returned to the farm in January where it lives for nearly a year until the Christmas season approaches again. The best part is that you can rent the same tree every year.
With Christmas right around the corner, most of us have already begun shopping for gifts, decorations, and of course Christmas trees. While the feel (and smell) of a real tree remains unmatched, people seem to be quite content with the artificial version which surprisingly looks like the real deal. Although both these options may seem enticing, we have to remember that there is a hefty environmental cost that comes with them.
"In the U.S., around 10 million artificial trees are purchased each season. Nearly 90 percent of them are shipped across the world from China, resulting in an increase in carbon emissions and resources. And because of the material they are made of, most artificial trees are not recyclable and end up in local landfills," explains The Nature Conservancy. Meanwhile, when you buy a real one, it supports local tree farms which only takes down a fraction of the trees they grow. So, this process does not involve intensive levels of carbon emissions that happen when artificial trees are produced and transported.
The question that arises: What is the environment-friendly route to get a tree for Christmas? Well, we do have the perfect alternative. People can now rent a potted Christmas tree every year and enjoy the real deal without feeling guilty about killing it. The concept was recently explained by Alexandra Lautarescu, who shared a picture of her tree-in-a-pot from London Christmas Tree Rental.
🎄🎄Not academia related but I'm way too hyped about this sustainable Xmas gem🎄🎄— Alexandra Lautarescu (@AleLautarescu) December 5, 2020
London Christmas Tree Rental lets you RENT a tree in a pot. In Jan he goes back to live on a farm (can get the same one back next year).When he reaches 7ft he "retires" & gets planted in a forest. pic.twitter.com/Fnmc1LddEr
Lautarescu revealed that the potted beauty is returned to the tree farm in January where it lives for nearly a year until the Christmas season approaches again. The best part is that you can rent the same tree every year until it outgrows the traditional Christmas tree height. Once it reaches 7 feet it gets planted in a forest to enjoy its retirement period. Jonathan Mearns and Catherine Loveless began this small, yet effective initiative in 2018. "It all started when walking the streets of London in January and weaving between the Christmas tree graveyards that Jonathan decided enough was enough," reads the website of the company.
"With 7 million trees going into landfill each year for the sake of 3 weeks of pleasure there must be a better way to do Christmas trees. So London Christmas Tree Rental was born, offering the opportunity to rent the same tree year on year," it continued. The idea soon became popular among people as the company not only laid emphasis on reusing the trees but also took measures to ensure its health and safety. The website details how customers can care for the trees by watering them regularly, slowly introducing them to the temperature inside the home, and keeping them away from a radiator. You would also have to pay a fully refundable £30 ($40.10) deposit in case of any damages to the tree. This incentive is sure to encourage renters to take extra care of them because "the trees are living" after all.
These rental trees range from £38.95 ($52.1) to £68.95 ($92.27), which is almost the average price of purchasing a tree that has been cut down. The only difference, in this case, is that the plant gets to live, and isn't that the true Christmas spirit? If you're impressed by this idea, then you should know there are a few companies in the U.S. as well that offer similar live tree rental services. Rent a living Christmas Tree, a California-based company has been renting out these potted trees since 2009. So, why not make sustainable choices this Christmas and for the ones in the future? After all, there are quite a few options in the market and even if there aren't, it's our demand that ultimately determines the market supply.