Why eco-friendly Christmas trees are 2020's biggest trend (and how to get one)

‘Tis the Season to spread love and cheer… and sustainability?

eco-friendly Christmas trees
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s the annual Christmas dilemma. No, not whether we should actually be spending Christmas with our families, even though Boris has told us we can, not whether we can skip the virtual work Christmas party and not whether we can serve up bread sauce from a packet... The question is how eco-friendly our Christmas tree is?

This year we are going real. Given that we are so fanatical about our bags for life, metal straws and reusable cups, we feel our vow to live more sustainably has to extend to plastic, fake trees that are shipped miles across the globe. 

It's true that fake plastic trees last for years – and nowadays they can look very realistic. But they do take enormous amounts of energy to manufacture and when they get too disheveled to last another season, it’s just more synthetic waste to be disposed of. 

Yes, we know we have the best artificial Christmas trees on this very website (pot, kettle, black), but lots of you are still clamoring for them.

But, hey, we don’t seem to be the only ones who are thinking about how to be greener this festive season. A study commissioned by Bloom & Wild found that 59 per cent of people now consider the environment a deciding factor when it comes to purchasing Christmas trees and decorations.

So, here's what you need to know.

5 steps to eco-friendly Christmas trees

1. Go real – it's better than artificial in the long run

According to The Carbon Trust, a real Christmas tree has a significantly lower carbon footprint than an artificial tree, especially if it is disposed of properly, by chipping or burning. Artificial trees are not recyclable, and most will end up clogging landfills for years to come, having a detrimental impact on the environment.

2. But you still need to make sure it's sustainable

If you want to be reassured that your real tree has been grown sustainably, look out for the FSC-certification logo. 

3. Grow your own (really) 

Or you could go one step further and grow your own – buying a potted tree with roots lets you grow it outside and use it again next year, reducing its environmental impact and costing you less.

4. Replant it next year

From the same Bloom & Wild survey, 18 per cent of people said they have re-planted their trees in the past and a huge 49 per cent of people surveyed have said they would buy a smaller real tree that they could then plant to reduce the carbon footprint.

5. Buy local

Enough said.

Having a more sustainable Christmas doesn't just involve picking the right tree, there's loads you can do to ease off rampant consumerism a bit and think about the planet. Go and check out our tips for an eco-friendly Christmas for some inspiring ideas. Psssstt! One more thing... we have a list of eco-friendly Christmas gifts, too.

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.