If I could rewrite the lyrics of “O Christmas Tree,” to incorporate a greener theme, I would sing the first verse of the song as follows:
O, Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree,
I wish that buying a green one is what people could see.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree,
Perhaps they could replant, rent, or re-purposing thee.
A lyrist I am not, but the point I am making is how many plastic trees are used for Christmas with lead in them? Or trees that are cut down to be put in the trash? You know I am no stranger to wishing people used live Christmas trees or Christmas trees made out of recycled content materials. If you want to call me a treehugger, then I will proudly wear the ornament.
If you Must have a Tree, Buy a Replantable Tree
In my article, “Buy a Real Christmas Tree like Charlie Brown ,” I cited the following benefits of buying a live tree espoused by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service:
- “Help to settle out, trap and hold particle pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs.
- “Absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.
- Produce enough oxygen on each acre for 18 people every day.
- Absorb enough CO2 on each acre, over a year’s time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles. Trees remove gaseous pollutants by absorbing them through the pores in the leaf surface. Particulates are trapped and filtered by leaves, stems and twigs, and washed to the ground by rainfall.”
In Portland, the Original Living Christmas Tree actually plants the trees for you. Not in Portland? The Company provides sage advice on how to pick a potted Christmas tree as well as planting it yourself or donating it to your community park service or someone who wants the tree. Check out my other suggestions for live trees and plants. My favorite is a rosemary bush.
What about re-purposing items to look like a Christmas tree?
The question is do you need an evergreen tree at all to have an X-mas tree? I know that sounds like a strange question, but creative people are re-purposing items and creating a recycled content environmentally friendly tree. See below:
In Haifia, Israel, designer, Hadas Itzcovitch and her father, artist Ernest Itzcovitch, created a tree out of 5,480 recycled plastic bottles illuminated by LED lights to raise awareness of environmental issues.
Recyclart featured an X-mas tree at the San Franscio Gleeson Library made out of books. I bet everyone could make a tree like this. Best of all, no one has to clean up the needles. Just dismantle and shelve the books.
Over on Fake Plastic Fish, Beth, my friend who hates plastic, features an X-mas tree made out of FSC certified, 100% recycled cardboard from Cascades. Ah, a tree that you simply need to fold and store. These trees come in various sizes and colors ranging in price from $24-$40.
Over on GreenDiary, they featured a 1000 recycled Heineken beer bottle X-mas Tree that was displayed in Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China. (Source of the picture.) At your next party, start collecting those beer bottles.
Israel is not the only one to have their very own recycled plastic bottle Christmas tree. The DesignPackGallery, Coca-Cola, the City of Paris, and EcoPackaging teamed up to informed people of the benefits of recycling plastic bottles. To that end, Paris got its own recycled plastic Christmas tree made by Fabrice Peltier, founder of DesignPackGallery. (See picture at the beginning of the article.) Several other plastic trees were installed through out the City. (Source of the picture.)
Want your very own recycled bottle Christmas tree and live in France? The DesignPackGallery sells the above kit at the gallery with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the WWF.
Do you have a Nontraditional X-mas Tree to Share?
As you can tell from my lyrics above, I am not the creative one, but merely the storyteller. Let me know below how you have created a nontraditional holiday tree. Or alternatively, tell me if you have spotted a nontraditional Christmas tree on the internet or around town. Add the link in your comment.
Better yet, upload your videos or picture to Green Talk’s Fan Page for all of my friends to see. Sometimes, all it takes is someone with a little imagination for others to follow.
Let’s sprinkle some green Christmas magic around the internet!
- 10 Tips for a Green Christmas. Start with the Tree.
- Buy a Real Christmas Tree Just like Charlie Brown
- Wow Imports: Fair trade and Recycled Fun Household Products
- Greener Holidays: Sage Advice to Last You Through Gift Returns
- Green Christmas: 5 Easy Ways to Be Eco Conscious During the Holidays