Recyclable Christmas tree services will pick up and return your live potted tree next year

Why you should be 'adopting' a live potted Christmas tree this year

Christmas tree in a silver metal pot
(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have a faithful artificial Christmas tree, and those for whom a real, fragrant Nordmann Fir is non-negotiable. A British company named Eco Elf offers a middle ground to quell our Christmas tree-related environmental concerns.

It will deliver one of three different types of Christmas tree to your door and collect it again in January. Experts then care for it outside for a year, ready for it to be reused.

Christmas tree in a silver metal pot

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Callum O'Driscoll is the founder of Eco Elf (opens in new tab). 'I love having a big Christmas tree with all the decorations and lights, but it always seems like a bit of a waste,' he says.

'If you buy an artificial tree, it’s largely made from plastic and not good for the environment,' Callum adds. 'If you buy a real tree it’s only enjoyed for a few weeks before the whole thing is chipped up.'

Having seen queues of live trees waiting to be destroyed after Christmas, he came up with the idea of a recyclable Christmas tree service. The aim of the company is to offer a service 'that still brings that magical joy we all associate with the festive season in a way that’s much kinder to the planet.'

Christmas tree in a festive living room decorated with neutral decor

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

So, how does it work? Once festivities are over, the tree is returned to a farm where it is re-acclimatized to living outside and kept safe and healthy, ready for next year.

As long as you're confident when it comes to how to keep a Christmas tree alive throughout December, you can adopt a tree to have returned to you year after year. The trees cost between £45 and £65, depending on the type and height you want. You can pick from a Nordmann Fir, a Norway Spruce and a Serbian Spruce.

If you're tight on space, or want to decorate with multiple trees, the mini Christmas tree trend is set to be big this year.

Christmas tree in a silver metal pot

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Google Trends shows a significant spike in search around live potted Christmas trees in 2020 compared to previous years, with people seeking eco-friendly options. After all, around 8 million cut Christmas trees are used and discarded each year in the UK.

These discarded Christmas trees create approximately 12,000 tonnes of rubbish every January, and every cut tree has a carbon footprint of up to 16kg CO2e. Chris Cook, owner of Happy Hydro Farm (opens in new tab) says living tree rentals such as The Living Christmas Company (opens in new tab)in Los Angeles have 'slowly spread from the West Coast' across the US. 

The smell and feel of a real tree, without the guilt come January 5th - we think adopting a Christmas tree might just be the way forward

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.