20 December 2019 by Claudia Glover

Londoners urged to recycle Christmas trees

London Councils – the local government association for Greater London – is encouraging residents to recycle, rent or replant their Christmas trees over the festive period.

The association released a statement yesterday, December 19, saying that Christmas trees often get fly tipped over the winter months and many local authorities are offering drop-off sites in car parks and green areas for Christmas trees to be recycled into mulch or compost.

Christmas trees are recyclable and can be shredded into chippings which are used  in parks or woodland

The statement outlined damages inflicted on the environment by Christmas trees that end up in landfill, explaining that “a two-metre-tall tree with no roots has a 16 kg carbon dioxide equivalent footprint if it ends up in landfill”.

In contrast, reusing a tree by planting it in a pot or garden for next year, or recycling it by turning it into chips, can reduce the carbon footprint by up to 80%.

Renting a live tree in a pot is an option that the London council wishes to draw to the attention of its residents. Rented Christmas trees can be delivered to the door to be watered, decorated and returned after Christmas to be kept alive for another year, keeping trees away from landfill or just rotting on the streets in residential areas.

It is also possible to “adopt a Christmas tree”, by buying a seedling and planting it in the garden, to be decorated each year as it grows. Finally, for residents who do not want the tree they have bought to end up as mulch, they can try to replant their tree in the back garden.

Chair of London Councils’ transport and environment committee Councilor Julian Bell said: “Celebrating Christmas or New Year with family and friends doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice our commitments to living sustainably. If anything, we can make our communities greener with thoughtful choices and plans to reuse and recycle seasonal waste as much as we can, including our Christmas trees”.

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