Live Christmas trees add a special touch to the holiday season. The perfect tree looks majestic and, of course, the aroma of fresh pine sets the mood for the holiday season. Once all the lights and ornaments are added, the festive tree is probably the most beautiful part of the festivities.
At the end of the season, though, millions of these trees are tossed out onto the curb. Last year, Americans bought 26.2 million live trees during the holiday season. If the thought of buying a live tree only to throw it out after a month makes you feel like a Grinch or even makes you hesitant to get one in the first place, then you might want to consider renting a live Christmas tree.
Around the U.S., companies are offering innovative ways to reduce the environmental destruction that comes with buying and then trashing Christmas trees each year. The Oregon-based Original Potted Christmas Tree Company, which services the Portland and Eugene area, delivers potted Christmas trees to customers in December, and then picks them up again in early January and plants the trees in watersheds.
This year, the tree rental cost $150, which included delivery, pickup, planting and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re not contributing to more environmental waste.
There are lots of benefits to renting a potted Christmas tree, including the fact that the trees will emit oxygen and clean the air while in your home. They’re harder for pets to knock over, and because they’re not drying out like a cut tree, they pose less of a fire risk.
In California, Rent A Christmas Tree offers a similar rental service, delivering potted Christmas trees for customers to keep for up to 30 days during the holiday season. Then, the company picks up the trees and returns them to a nursery forest “where they become part of the ecosystem, sustaining wildlife and clean air.”
Meanwhile, up in Washington State, the Adopt a Stream Foundation offers local residents the chance to rent potted holiday trees (for $40, $60 or $100 apiece) that will later be replanted to benefit the salmon population in the area. This Facebook post from the organization explains the process in more detail.
“After the holidays, all trees returned to the Northwest Stream Center will be planted next to local salmon streams,” Adopt A Stream Foundation Director Tom Murdoch said, according to the Facebook post. “And everyone will get the good feeling that comes with knowing their Holiday Tree for Salmon will be doing great things for the Northwest environment long into the future.”
The Christmas tree rental idea has also taken root across the pond in England. The London Christmas Tree Rental launched in 2018 after the founders took a walk along the city’s streets and had to weave in and out of the “Christmas tree graveyards.” The company’s goal was to help reduce the approximately 7 million trees that hit the landfill each year in their part of the world.
Twitter user @AleLautarescu posted about her Christmas tree rental from the London company on Dec. 5, explaining that after the holidays, the tree will go back to live on a farm and will be available to be rented again next year.
🎄🎄Not academia related but I'm way too hyped about this sustainable Xmas gem🎄🎄
London Christmas Tree Rental lets you RENT a tree in a pot. In Jan he goes back to live on a farm (can get the same one back next year).When he reaches 7ft he "retires" & gets planted in a forest. pic.twitter.com/Fnmc1LddEr
— Alexandra Lautarescu (@AleLautarescu) December 5, 2020
While it may be a little late to order a live Christmas tree to rent for 2020, it’s good to know there are ecologically responsible ways to celebrate the holidays next year and for years to come.