Real or Artificial - the great Christmas tree debate.

Updated: Jan 15

Which type of Christmas tree has the lowest environmental impact, and why? Our November newsletter covered this topic and got a lot of attention, same again at the Tring Christmas Festival, and so we've summarised the key points in this article.


There are many views and opinions in this topic. The best source of verifiable information we've found is from the Carbon Trust and the BBC summarised this is a great, short video which also covers the best way to dispose of trees. Click on the image below to go to the BBC site and watch their article.


The short version is that in most cases a real tree is best providing you dispose of it correctly (or used a potted one that can be reused over several years). Artificial trees need to be kept and reused for at least 10 years before at least their carbon footprint is lower - but there are other environmental considerations too. Real trees are constantly removing CO2 and providing at least a little habit for wildlife.


Our summary poster from the Tring Christmas Festival

The best way to dispose of your real tree...

We can start with the worst way - landfill. Landfill is not a good option and so real trees should not be thrown out with general, non-recyclable waste.

Technically, the ideal solution is to create biochar from your used Christmas tree. But this is only an option if locally available and handled professionally.


So realistically there are three options if you live in or around Tring. 

  1. Sign up with Tring scouts for collection after Christmas in return for a donation.  Trees go for chipping and composting.  This is best option to minimise transport carbon footprint. Collection day is January 5th 2020. Contact tringscoutsxmastrees@gmail.com

  2. Take your tree to a garden centre if it offers chipping and bagging for you to mulch/compost.

  3. Take your tree to the nearest household waste disposal/recycling and put it in the green waste container.  (Kerbside green waste collection in Dacorum doesn’t happen December to early Spring).


More information...





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