Buying the perfect Christmas tree
Chris has owned the same plastic tree for the past 20 years. Is that better for the environment than buying a real one each year? There's only one way to find out! Chris went in search of the real deal, a traditional pine Christmas tree to compare with his Xmas relic. Thank goodness he bumped into George to make it a more even debate...
Chris - [decorating]
Chris - "I did actually end up buying George's Christmas tree - he's dropping it off this weekend - because it was nice, and I've never, in all my adult life actually ever had a real one, so I felt the family deserved a treat.
That means I'll own one of about 7 million real Christmas trees cut in the UK every year, most of them grown here. And there's the wrinkle with fake trees: because the majority of those have travelled all the way from China to get here, so they arrive with a much bigger carbon footprint than my locally grown one.
There's also the recycling question; at some point my plastic tree is going to give up the ghost and end up in the bin; there'll therefore be a landfill cost, or even if the material is reused there will still be a carbon cost to that.
My real tree can go, as George said, to the Young Farmers, who turn them into wood chippings and line paths with them; and as they break down they release back into the atmosphere only the CO2 they took up to grow in the first place.
According to the carbon trust a 7ft fake tree, is responsible for about 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions, so you need to use it for at least 10 christmases to be environmentally better off than buying a real one.
BUT - the data from the retail market suggests that my 20 year old plastic tree is a real outlier - most fake trees get used only an average of 4 times before we bin them.
So, the bottom line, it looks like George is right to be a real tree man: unless you hang onto your fake tree for at least a decade, both the planet, your living room and your carbon footprint will all benefit from a real Christmas Tree to celebrate the festive season! Merry Christmas!"