eco friendly christmas trees

Eco Friendly Christmas Trees

Happy December folks!  It’s officially Christmas tree season so let’s talk eco friendly Christmas trees!

I’ve already seen Christmas trees a-plenty twinkling away merrily in living rooms around where we live.  Have you put your Christmas tree up yet?  I’m putting our tree up this weekend!

If, like me, you haven’t put your tree up yet and you’re looking to make your Christmas a greener affair then why not start with the centre piece of Christmas – the tree.  I’ve put together some ideas for eco friendly Christmas trees to help you out:

eco friendly christmas trees

Ideas For Eco Friendly Christmas Trees

1. Buy a Potted Tree

One great option for eco friendly Christmas trees if you have a garden is to buy a potted Christmas tree.  You can buy potted trees easily from most garden centres.  Look for UK grown varieties, like Blue Spruce or Nordman

Once Christmas is done simply pop it in your garden in it’s pot.  The following year you can bring it back into your house and decorate it, before putting it back in the garden again once Christmas is over.

Potted trees tend to be small (around 3-4ft when you first receive it) so it’s great if you have a small house, or want to use it as an additional tree until it grows in size.   It probably won’t need re-potted for 2 to 3 years, and then you can simply transfer it to a bigger pot and continue to bring it indoors until it gets too big.

When your tree gets too big you can plant it in your garden as a permanent reminder of all of the great Christmases you’ve had.

To care for your potted tree, keep it away from radiators or fires, and make sure the soil is kept moist (but not waterlogged).

We had a potted tree a few years ago.  while it was great, and didn’t drop its needles as much as cut trees do, we kept ours indoors for too long (a month).  It got a shock from going from a centrally heated house to an exposed Scottish garden and it took a couple of years to recover.

A potted tree is therefore a good eco friendly tree option if you a) don’t put your tree up too early, b) can acclimatise it slowly to life outdoors again after Christmas by leaving it outdoors for short periods and bringing it back indoors at night for a while or c) live somewhere with slightly more favourable conditions than the east coast of Scotland!  Our tree is now planted in the ground in our garden, flourishing, and I smile every time I look at it and think of one of our first Christmases together as a couple.

2.  Rent a Tree

If you don’t have a garden, or don’t want the hassle of potting and re-potting a tree then there are several companies that rent Christmas trees, particularly if you live in the south of England.  Forever Green Christmas for example, rent trees from £35, serving the Essex area only.

They’ll deliver a potted tree to your door, collect it at the end of the festive period and put it back outside and care for it, ready to be delivered to someone the following Christmas.  Once trees grow to be too big to rent, they are typically planted out in forests, making it a great eco friendly option.

3.  Fake Trees

eco friendly christmas tree options

Fake Christmas trees aren’t the worst thing in the world if you use it year after year after year.  Depending on how long you plan to have your tree for, a fake tree may be preferable than chopping down a live tree every year.

We have a fake 6ft Christmas tree that we bought several years ago secondhand on eBay and are in no hurry to replace it (I sincerely hope we can still be using it in 50 years time!).  We also have a smaller tree that my mum and dad have had for about forty years!  We used it last year as our main tree as we had a very inquisitive almost 1 year old and foresaw disaster with using a big tree!

If you want a fake tree then buy the best you can afford in a green classic tree shape, as this won’t date unlike some of the more modern fake Christmas tree styles (like this one).  Try and buy one without in-built lights as they are difficult to fix if they break, and buy secondhand if you can for the most eco friendly Christmas tree.

4.  Real Trees

What if you don’t have a garden, and don’t live near a tree rental company, and feel that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a real tree?  Well, rather than buying an imported tree with a hefty carbon footprint, try and buy one that has been locally grown.

If you’re in Scotland then without a doubt the best place to purchase a real tree if from Caring Christmas Trees, part of the Bethany Trust.  All of their trees are sustainably grown in Scotland from local growers, and the money raised also helps homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland.

If you’re in England then the Forestry Commission have Christmas tree sales centres where you can buy a sustainably grown, local tree.

Once Christmas is over, trees can be shredded and composted; or used in your woodburner (if you have one).

 Alternatively most Councils offer a kerbside recycling scheme, where they will collect your tree in early January and shred them into chippings, which are typically used in parks.  Contact your local council for advice on tree recycling in your area.

So there we have, lots of advice on eco friendly Christmas trees.  If you are after more ideas on how to have a greener Christmas here are 10 vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas, and there are a lot more ideas in my Christmas tag too!

Guide to eco friendly Christmas trees

 

smartphone controlled central heating

Smartphone Controlled Central Heating?

smartphone controlled central heating

This is a sponsored post in association with evohome.  Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Smartphone controlled central heating sounds positively space-age, doesn’t it?  Yet Honeywell, heating control specialists, have created just that with their evohome intelligent heating system.

Evohome connects to your boiler and existing radiators and allow you to control your entire heating system via a wireless central console or smartphone app.  This allows you to control the heating room-by-room.  I’m quite bad at adjusting my thermostats – I just turn on my heating and that’s that – but Honeywell’s Jeremy Paterson makes a great point when he says “In the same way you don’t only have one light switch for your entire house, we believe you shouldn’t control your heating with one single switch“:

honeywell evohome

Thinking about it, my daughter is often tucked up warm and cosy in bed, while we’re freezing in the living room.  Not wanting to go in and risk waking her to turn her radiator thermostat down so we can have the heating on in the living room without cooking her in her tiny bedroom, we’d really benefit from being able to adjust her radiator via smartphone controlled central heating.

Even if you don’t have young kids, perhaps you have some rooms that don’t need to be heated, or have smaller rooms that require less heating than the larger rooms?  Or maybe you sensibly want to heat your hall less than your main rooms?  Instead of having to go round and adjust all of your radiator thermostats you can just sit on your sofa and adjust the heating with the touch of a button (saving energy in more ways than one!).

evohome

For me, the absolute best thing about Evohome and their smartphone controlled central heating is that you can also control your heating when you are away from home.  In winter I hate coming home to a freezing cold house, so I like to set the timer for 20 minutes before I’m due home so the house is warm and cosy for my return.  Which works great some of the time, but then there are other times when my heating is on and I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam, or had to unexpectedly work late, or (before I became a parent!) had impromptu nights out straight after work, causing me to unnecessarily waste energy.  With evohome you can just use your iOS or android smartphone and switch your heating off.  Genius!

Honeywell say the evohome system can save you up to 40% on your heating bills, which is a pretty hefty saving.  The evohome pack, which is guaranteed to fit most heating systems, including those with stored hot water, will be available for purchase in the UK in January 2014.  Priced from £249, it should soon pay for itself in energy savings.  Smartphone controlled central heating?  I’m definitely in!

For more information on evohome and how to find a Honeywell installer visit the evohome website.

All images via evohome.