Since a few years, a new trend has become more and more popular: Renting a Christmas tree. The idea behind this is to reduce waste and help the environment. After the Christmas period, the rented trees are returned back to a Christmas tree farm, where they are replanted. According to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, between 8 to 10 million Christmas trees are sold each year.
Mrs Jean Pryce, a 67-year-old woman who rented a Christmas tree, hopes that this gesture will help the environment. Additionally, she declared to be willing to rent the exact same tree next year. Speaking with BBC, she said: “I think it’s well worth doing and I wanted to support a local business too.”
Melanie Broomhead, together with her partner Chris Rodwell, started a Christmas tree farm in Lostwithiel, Cornwall. She said that they had been overwhelmed with rental requests and that she had sold out by December. According to Mrs Broomhead, “Sustainability is at the forefront of everybody’s mind and people are keen to shop local. People get a real living tree with zero waste – it’s a carbon catching product and totally renewable.”
“This year was an experiment for us and we have been overwhelmed with people’s support – it’s been a heart warming experience,” she added.
But Mrs Broomhead and Mr Rodwell are not the only couple running a Christmas tree farm in Cornwall. Last year, also Jane and Paul Westlake decided to start their own farm in St Austell, Cornwall, as they became frustrated at the waste caused by throwing away the trees. Their “rent a tree” scheme is a more sustainable way to celebrate the holidays.
“We were aware so many trees get cut down for Christmas then just left to possibly be recycled or dumped and this is putting something back,” said Mrs Westlake to BBC. She even added: “Why not give it [a tree] a second life, a third year, fourth year.” According to Mrs Westlake, some people are starting to consider the trees as part of the family. “Some people I think have actually named their tree and it is great when people ask can we have that specific tree back again.”
The phenomenon is growing so much that since last year, their Christmas tree farm has tripled in size, growing from 40 trees to 120, with 300 families on the waiting list for 2021.