The debate about whether itís more environmentally friendly to have a live Christmas tree or an artificial one might finally be over thanks to a new option: renting one.
In cities across the United States and Canada including Los Angeles, New York, Portland, and Vancouver, you can rent a living Christmas tree. Unlike cut trees, the rented tree is a living, potted tree that is literally in a pot/container with the roots still intact and that is still growing.
Most companies offer the same service; they will deliver a living tree to you before Christmas and after the holidays, pick up the tree.
The cost of renting a tree is comparable to buying a traditional cut tree, although some companies charge a deposit fee. Some offer free delivery and pick up, while others charge for this.
As far as care and decoration of the tree, this also varies by company but all of them say no tinsel, keep it well watered and donít place it near a heater or fireplace.
Once the tree is picked up after the holidays various companies do different things with the trees. The trees are either brought back to a nursery to continue growing, or they are planted in a wide variety of locations especially those that have grown too big to rent out. The trees are planted in landscaping projects, donated to urban reforestation projects, reforestation projects, or donated to a tree planting organization.
Renting a living tree is eco-friendly not only because you are saving a tree from being destroyed, but also because you are helping the environment as the trees keep producing oxygen — whether the trees are returned to a nursery or planted in another area.
The living tree additionally benefits as a living air freshener, cleaning the air in your home while you have it. It is also less likely to drop needles and is less of a fire hazard.
Started in 1992, The Original Living Christmas Tree Company in Portland, Oregon is one of the oldest tree rental companies around. They deliver full size potted Christmas trees, and after Christmas, the trees are planted around schools, churches, in parks and watersheds all over the Northwest.
The Living Christmas Company in the Los Angeles area is committed to sustainability in everything it does. The company even delivers its living trees in a bio-diesel truck and also sells environmentally friendly ornaments, LED holiday lights, recycled ribbons, and fair trade ornaments as well.
They also only rent trees that are local to the delivery address, making their carbon footprint as small as possible.
In addition, since some trees donít hold up to rental year after year, Living Christmas Company donates those to a tree planting organization to become part of an Urban Reforestation Project.
The idea has even caught on in Great Britain as well. The Little Tree Company offers delivery and pick up across the United Kingdom. Once the trees are no longer suitable for rental, they plant them in woodlands to create habitats for Britainís wildlife.