For Customer Satisfaction
Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Christmas Tree Buying Guide
How to buy a Christmas tree that's better for the environment this Christmas and for years to come
Updated Wednesday, 25 October 2023 by Charlie Gill
Finding a properly eco-friendly, sustainable Christmas tree isn’t actually as easy as it first seems.
There are countless points of view as to whether fake trees or real trees are better, and what about the alternatives like renting a tree or picking a reusable wooden Christmas tree?
One thing is for certain, we all love putting them up at Christmas time. In fact, it's estimated that in the UK, 8 million real Christmas trees are bought each year. Here's our guide to help you choose the most eco Christmas tree for your house this year.
The Environmental Impact of Real vs Fake Christmas Trees
This really depends on the type of Christmas tree you buy, what it’s made from, and how long you plan on using it before throwing it away. While a fake tree may be reusable, if it’s made from a synthetic material (i.e. plastic), then you would have to keep your fake tree for 10 years for it to have the same carbon footprint as using a real tree every year.
Plastic also takes thousands of years to degrade once it reaches landfill, and even then only breaking down into highly polluting and possibly toxic micro-plastics that contaminate water supplies, kill marine life and might even be making their way into our bodies. When you take it all into account, that new reusable plastic tree is no longer really sustainable at all.
Real trees on the other hand can release carbon dioxide and methane when disposed of in the wrong way by breaking down in landfill sites. These trees are often grown with fertilisers which can cause damage to wildlife and soil conditions, and use up a lot of land while they’re growing.
Even if you purchase a real tree that’s grown sustainably, it won’t be reusable and you’ll have to buy another next year, making it an unsustainable option.
So what are the alternatives? Sustainable Christmas trees
For your Christmas tree to be a sustainable tree, it needs to be produced sustainably and be reusable for many christmases to come! Luckily you do have a few more-environmentally-friendly options to choose from.
Rent a tree
Firstly, if you would miss the scent of a real tree, you can still have the real thing by renting a Christmas tree. An alternative to the real trees that are cut down for decoration, rented trees are 'borrowed' for the festive period and then replanted for use the following year. This is an eco alternative for those who want a real Christmas tree without discarding it at the end of the festive season.
Grow your own Christmas tree
Similarly, you can plant your own Christmas tree that lives outside in your garden for the majority of the year, and that can be brought inside for a couple of weeks around Christmas. This eco tree is a great choice if you want to be able to see the tree grow year after year, and improve the air quality in your neighbourhood.
Buy a Sustainable wooden Christmas tree
Luckily if you don’t have a garden, or you want a tree that you can reuse, you can buy a reusable wooden Christmas tree. They’re plastic free, and while there are no pines, they’re usually shaped like a traditional Christmas tree and can still be decorated beautifully. They’re a good option for a one-off purchase that can be reused for years to come and stored in your loft or under the bed.
There are lots of varieties out there but you need to make sure that whatever tree you choose is made from sustainably sourced wood. The wooden Christmas trees in our collection are made from timber from sustainably managed FSC certified forests.
View our collection of sustainable Christmas trees.
What is the most eco-friendly Christmas tree?
The best eco-friendly Christmas tree depends on your circumstances, like whether you have a garden big enough for a Christmas tree, or have a rental place nearby, or whether you want a real tree or an artificial tree. Ultimately, the best option is always a natural tree, free from plastic and fertilisers, whether that's a sustainable wooden tree or a real tree that can replanted and reused every Christmas.
Decorate your Eco-friendly Christmas Tree
Hopefully this guide has helped you pick the right sustainable Christmas tree option! All that’s left to do now is choose the decorations. Let us know what you’re doing to make your Christmas tree more sustainable in the comments below.
We wish you luck on your journey to finding the perfect eco-friendly and sustainable Christmas tree.