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Recycled Christmas Trees Helping To Reduce Flooding

If you have a real fern tree at Christmas, what do you do with it after it’s served its festive use and is looking a bit worse for wear? A Christmas tree recycling company has found a great way of aiding in the reduction of flooding in local areas.

Based in Todmorden,  Sara Tomkins and her partner run a ‘side hustle’ that involves renting Christmas tree’s to locals. When a customer has paid for a Christmas tree to use over the festive period, they not only deliver it to them, they then take them away when the festivities are over.

Once the trees are back at the farm, Sara and her partner replant the rented trees, placing a name tag onto each of them so that they are prepped and ready for next year. However, if the tree’s become too big for a family house once a year has passed, or have grown to 7ft-8ft high, they then work with a local trust called ‘Slow the Flow’ and ‘Tree Responsibility’.

These are organisations that help with localised flooding, and once the larger trees have outgrown their previous homes, they are planted on the moors in Todmorden and in surrounding areas in Hebden. These organisations, along with Sara and her partner, also contribute to helping to stem the flow of water down to the valleys and other areas, helping local communities.

One-fifth of the global population – depend on forests for employment, forest products, and contributions to livelihoods and incomes.[1]  The work by Sara and other local authorities is vital to carbon capture, ecosystems, and controlling flooding and droughts.

What Should You Do With Your Christmas Trees?

According to the BBC, around 8 million real Christmas trees are purchased every year and how these 8 million trees are disposed of can make a large impact on the environment. If you prefer to have an artificial tree and use it over multiple years, it can be better for the environment. However, it does have to be used anywhere between 7-20 times to be able to make a difference to purchasing a commercially grown tree every year.  The eco-conscious ways of disposing of your real Christmas trees are as follows:

  • Taking them to your local landfill or recycling plants where they (depending on your location and local authorities) will be turned into woodchip and compostable materials. The woodchip can be used to create new pathing or even to help grow new Christmas trees.
  • If you had purchased a potted Christmas tree, they can be re-potted or replanted into back gardens and allotments and left to grow in preparation for next year.

According To The Carbon Trust:

  • If you replant your Christmas tree or have it chipped and use it in your garden, it will significantly reduce your carbon footprint by up to 80%.
  • Burning a tree on a home bonfire is not recommended as it can emit the carbon dioxide that the tree has stored up as grown from a sapling.
  • For a 2-meter-tall real Christmas tree, with no roots, the carbon footprint is 16kg CO2 if it ends up in landfill. This is because the tree decomposes and produces methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.[2]

The consideration of how we dispose of our waste is more important than ever. Between 2005 and 2020 European forests grew by an area bigger than Switzerland and amounts to 1,500 football pitches every day.[3]  However, with the recent climate crisis that this generation faces, it might be time to consider adopting your own Christmas tree and nurturing it throughout the year to return it to your living room to enjoy for another festive season (and many more to come).


  1. World Bank, 2016
  2. The Carbon Trust, 2021
  3. FAO Data, 2005-2020

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