The first artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century, though earlier examples exist. These “trees” were made using goose feathers that were dyed green.  Most artificial Christmas trees are now made from PVC plastic. Many of these trees are made in China.
Figure 1: Christmas Tree. 
There has been a long-standing debate about whether real or artificial Christmas trees are better, and there seem to be pros and cons to both:
Real Christmas Trees:
7 Ways to Recycle Your Real Christmas Tree
- Recycle your tree:
- Most local councils have an allocated day for Christmas tree collections – simply contact your council and make sure to put the date in your diary.
- Start a new compost pile:
- Evergreen branches make the perfect base, all you need to do is trim and stack your Christmas tree branches four to six inches high and start adding your kitchen scraps starting with your Christmas dinner peelings.
- Make your own firewood:
- Feel like a real lumberjack and chop up your tree to use as fuel for your fireplace. Make sure to keep the smaller branches too, the dried pine needles make for great kindling. This way you re-use every bit of your Christmas tree and keep warm on those cold winter evenings
- Enrich your soils with pine needles:
- Pine needles don’t collect mould and decompose slowly making them a fantastic resource to use in your garden. Remove your branches from the tree and shake off any dead needles and you’ve got yourself a natural fertiliser.
- Create a shelter for bugs and birds:
- The winter months can be hard on our wildlife, so why not use your Christmas tree to give them a little helping hand? Either keep your tree in its stand in the garden to create a safe place for birds to nest or lay it down on its side to make a perfect haven for bugs and mammals like rabbits and hedgehogs.
- Adopt a living Christmas tree:
- Thinking ahead? Did you know you can now buy a living, potted Christmas tree? These trees are grown on the same tree farms as cut trees, but instead are potted and left to grow. When Christmas is over, simply take off your decorations and move the pot outside to grow slowly with little maintenance over the year and bring inside again when next Christmas comes around.
- Rent a living Christmas tree:
- There are some companies that have Christmas tree farms, and you can visit, choose your living tree, and they will carefully dig it up and deliver it to you for the Christmas period. Once Christmas is over, they will come and collect your tree and put it back into the ground until you are ready for your tree again the next year.
Ways to Reduce Waste With Artificial Trees
- Instead of buying a new Christmas tree every year, you could reuse the same artificial tree and its decorations for multiple years in a row.
- Once you are finished with your artificial tree, when it comes to buying a new one, instead of throwing out your old one, you could sell it, to give it another life, so it doesn’t go straight to landfill.
- If you don’t think it is in good enough condition to sell for much, or you don’t want the hassle of trying to sell it, you could always look into donating your used artificial tree to a school, a care home, or a GP surgery.
Ways to Have a Greener Christmas All Round
- Use recyclable wrapping paper.
- Recycle all present packaging possible.
- Try not to waste any food.
- Donate or regift any unwanted gifts instead of throwing them away.
- Buy food from local shops.
- Recycle any cards you no longer want to keep.
- Hand deliver any cards you can instead of posting.
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 Sandra Seitamaa (December 2020) on Unsplash.com. Last accessed on 19th December 2022. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/V_y_G1SN_tw