I got an email asking me whether I thought an artificial Christmas tree or a natural one would be the greenest option. I said that I thought an artificial one – made from plastic – would be better environmentally, if you re-used it year after year. But I’ve never gone that route. (I’ve now discovered that a plastic one only wins out if it’s used for 20 years or more – and that most people only use them for 6!)
Up to now my best year has been with a tree that I re-planted in the garden. But not all of us have the space for this on an annual basis.
If you are going for a Christmas tree you should certainly recycle it afterwards. Most local authorities now have facilities for doing this. But you need to get round to disposing of it pretty soon after decorations come down or you miss the boat. I have to admit that I’ve had trees shedding their needles on my compost heap well into the New Year.
But this year is different. I was wondering if I could avoid having a tree altogether. My three boys are aged 14, 12 and 10. They had other ideas. So I suggested to my eldest son that he should take the others into the garden and get some twigs and things and make their own Christmas tree.
My vision was for a twiggy sculpture draped with Christmas decorations. But they did better than that.
We have a rather horrid Leylandii hedge that’s grown out of control. My neighbouring farmer has promised to cut it in February, so we can rediscover the view. Meanwhile, the boys have lopped off a couple of tops and tied them together. They now stand decorated in the corner and look pretty much like any other Christmas tree.
I think this is the greenest Christmas tree option of all….but I’ll have to decide how to recycle it at the end….