Fresh ways to recycle your Christmas tree

Lose a tree, gain a scented candle, bottle of gin or charitable donation

Image: Getty Images

If your New Year’s resolution is to wage a war on waste, a good place to start is with your Christmas tree – and there are several sparkling initiatives to encourage creative recycling.

Haeckels bio-packaged scented candle, £45
Haeckels bio-packaged scented candle, £45
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Haeckels

The Margate-based beauty brand has launched its Your Tree initiative to upcycle festive foliage. Drop your tree at Haeckels’ Margate HQ or its new London store on Broadway Market, and for £45 it will be transformed into a pine-scented, bio-packaged candle. Founder Dom Bridges’ commitment to a zero-waste process means that any leftover wood will be used to fuel Haeckels’ Victorian-style Margate beachfront bathing machine, housing a pre-sea-dip sauna. haeckels.co.uk 

Haeckels’ Victorian-style bathing machine on the Margate beachfront
Haeckels’ Victorian-style bathing machine on the Margate beachfront
Kiosk N1C will upcycle Christmas trees into a pine-infused gin
Kiosk N1C will upcycle Christmas trees into a pine-infused gin

Kiosk N1C

Design store founder James Bowthorpe is “investigating a more sustainable approach to retail”, starting with turning Christmas trees into a pine-infused gin. The needles from trees brought to the King’s Cross store between January 4 and 6 will be distilled at nearby Chapel Down Gin Works, and the resulting tipple sold exclusively at Kiosk N1C. Those who supplied a tree will get a £10 voucher to spend on the £33, 500ml bottle. “The King’s Cross estate already recycles its Christmas trees and chips them for mulch, but the idea of upcycling them into products is a step-change,” says Bowthorpe, adding that excess needles will be used by neighbouring brand Earl of East to create essential oils and candles. kioskn1c.com

A farmer holding saplings at a Treedom project in Kenya
A farmer holding saplings at a Treedom project in Kenya
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Just Helping

At the start of 2019, UK charity Just Helping pooled together 919 volunteers to collect 33,233 Christmas trees. The impressive effort raised a sum of £412,535 in donations to local hospices and charities. “The trees are recycled into chippings,” says the charity’s executive Clare Hinton, “and reused in parks, zoos, animal sanctuaries and farms, or used as biomass fuel. Whole trees are also used to prevent sand erosion – largely in north Wales and the Formby coastline – or are placed in woodland to provide wildlife habitat.” You have until midnight of New Year’s Day to register for collection. just-helping.org.uk

Treedom

What’s the carbon footprint of cutting down a tree for Christmas? According to the British Carbon Trust, it adds up to 16kg of CO2 if left to decompose, or 3.5kg if reused as firewood or chippings. To offset CO2 emissions – and assuage any post-festive guilt – Treedom plants new trees across the globe, from Kenya to Sicily to Colombia. Options range from a cacao (€14.90) to a baobab (€69.90). “Planting a tree with Treedom offsets CO2 emissions, promotes biodiversity and encourages sustainable agroforestry practices,” says founder and CEO Federico Garcea. “It brings food security and income to smallholder farmers all over the world and makes the planet a greener and more beautiful place.” treedom.net

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