7 million trees go into landfill every year and the thousands of pine needles on these trees take a long time to decompose compared to other tree leaves. When they rot, they produce methane gas which is 25 more times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
According to the Carbon Trust, the carbon footprint of a 6ft real Christmas tree is the equivalent to 16kg of CO2 if it ends up in landfill. That’s 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from the 7 million trees.
If you have an artificial tree at home you would need to re-use it for at least 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than that of a real tree. Around two thirds of an average artificial Christmas tree's carbon footprint is from the plastic (mostly PVC film) that 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.
If you have a real cut tree and after Christmas you burn it, or it is chipped to spread in the garden then it does reduces the carbon footprint as burning the tree emits the carbon dioxide that was stored up when it was growing so there's no net increase. Some councils do offer a recycling service, but some stipulate certain requirements like cutting the tree up into small parts.
Don't cut a tree down for the sake of 3 or 4 weeks of pleasure! At London Christmas Tree Rental we feel that renting a pot grown tree that can return year after year is much more sustainable.
We are always looking for ways to be as environmentally conscious as we can and are looking to source electric vans. We have a way to go, however by renting a tree you do reduce the Christmas tree graveyard and instead can rent a tree that becomes part of your household.