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Tips for Greener Holidays: Christmas Trees

By Rebecca Joerres, November 29, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Rebecca Joerres
The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, of getting together with family and friends and sharing the gifts of the season. The holidays are also a time when North Americans produce 25% more waste than any other time of the year, which equates to 25 million extra tons of garbage going to the landfill. Ho! Ho! Holy crap! This season, we’re sharing a few favorite tips from the Whole Foods Market Green Mission Team to help us all reduce our holiday waste. We know our customers are some of the greenest folks around, so please share your tips with us too. Hopefully we’ll help each other discover new and creative ways to live lighter on the planet this holiday season. Christmas Trees More than 50 million trees are sold each Christmas and it’s estimated that 30 million of those end up in our landfills. This year, make mulching your mantra. Simple changes with big impact: •Buy a real, cut tree from a sustainable source. Go local if available. •Avoid trees sprayed with chemical preservatives to protect indoor air quality. •After the holiday, have your tree mulched into wood shavings for use in local parks and forests. Many community organizations offer drop-off or collection service. •Avoid flocked or spray painted trees and don’t decorate with tinsel since these cannot be ground for mulch. •Choose a live, potted tree with its roots still attached from an ecologically sustainable source and plant it in your yard after Christmas. •If planting a live tree after the holidays, dig your hole for the tree before the ground freezes. Fill the hole with leaves and cover it. Then after the holidays, you simply rake out the leaves and place the balled tree into the hole. Back fill it with compost. It will do fine until the springtime when you can add water and any other necessary soil amendments. •Avoid artificial trees that are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a particularly toxic plastic, and these trees are typically not recyclable. Do you have tips for a green approach to the Christmas tree? Share them!




Teresa says ...
I would love to see a community Christmas tree garden where people can come decorate their tree while it's still in the ground and everyone can enjoy the displays. It saves the trees and contributes to the idea of sharing and giving.
11/29/2010 11:04:06 PM CST
Bernadette says ...
How can you determine if a tree was not sprayed with chemical preservatives to preserve indoor air quality?
11/30/2010 8:28:46 AM CST
jasmine says ...
thanks every little bit does help
11/30/2010 9:17:14 AM CST
Cheryl Cato says ...
Nice post. Personally I do not put up a tree but I would like to share your ideas on my blog.
11/30/2010 7:20:38 PM CST
Holly says ...
You may also use the branches of your Christmas tree as protection for your gardens.
12/01/2010 5:44:54 PM CST
Lynn says ...
What can I do to keep my fresh tree fresh and not dry out from heater since its been so cold?
12/03/2010 6:32:54 PM CST
anna says ...
Buying trees from your local Whole Foods market is a great way to go! They are low in price, but high in quality. For every tree that is cut, 2 more are planted. They go fast, so buy them soon! This year I got there too late....
12/04/2010 4:08:20 PM CST
e.r.t.h. says ...
Reading this sparked an interest for me to do some research for tree recycling in my local area and promote it on my blog. Thanks for the info!
12/10/2010 4:26:58 PM CST
Jim Russell says ...
As a grower/supplier of Noble Fir trees to Whole Foods I can respond to a few of the comments and questions. Q. How can you determine if a tree was sprayed with chemical preservatives? A. Look for trees that have been certified by a Christmas tree foundation that focuses on environmental preservation. The tree will usually have some type of tag or label the wholesaler/seller is proud to display. For example; the trees we supply to Whole Foods through our seller are certified by the Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers. These trees have to be grown within approved guidelines and farms are subject to random inspections. Q. What can I do to keep my fresh tree fresh? A. Treat the tree as you would cut flowers. Your tree was cut within a few days of the time you purchased it. During that time the trunk has sealed the area where the cut was made. Upon returning home with your tree use a hand saw to cut off about 1 inch of the base and immediately place the tree in your tree stand with water. Do not let the stand dry out. If you cannot put your tree in the stand right away, place the tree in a bucket of water. Try not to place the tree in the direct path of hot dry air and turn off the tree lights when you are not in the room to enjoy it’s beauty. Q. What should I do with my tree after the holiday season? A. Most communities have a tree recycling program. Those trees are picked up and ground into mulch or fertilizer. Alternatively, you can do the same in your yard or mulch pile. Some towns have Boy or Girl Scout programs that will collect trees. Your local Fish and Game department may want the trees as they can be used as fish habitat or erosion control. Trees are often used by equestrian centers as decorations for horse jumps. If you check around your area you might be surprised how trees can be used. Please feel free to visit our website to see what a tree farm looks like. As soon as the ground is workable we will be planting approximately 1200 trees per acre to replace those that were harvested this year and they will be ready for harvest again in 6-7 years. Happy Holidays! www.whitewaterranch.com
12/15/2010 12:38:08 PM CST
Tera Gauer says ...
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06/07/2011 7:24:50 AM CDT
Alison Mordell says ...
Always chip down in West Vancouver except last year when became somewhat disabled. Took all branches off and laid them down over tender plants in the garden. Had a friend chop up my trunk as a Noble Fir. It is still drying under cover for this year's Christmas fire. We have a fire place upstairs and only use it at Christmas. In the spring, I chopped up the fir even more and put the small bits beside blueberries strawberries and raspberries; all of whom like varying degrees of acidity. I am an organic gardener of course. My best holiday wishes.
12/08/2015 12:32:26 PM CST