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Why you should rent, not buy, your Christmas tree

rent christmas tree

rent christmas treeRent a Christmas tree? The idea is seeming less and less crazy to many.

The annual ritual takes on many forms: there’s the drop-off at the local recycling centre, the kick to the curb for city pick-up and, of course, there’s always the unceremonious tinsel-and-all toss into the backyard, where the thing will inevitably take up residence as domestic eyesore until the snow melts in the spring.

Whichever way, the yearly Christmas tree disposal often comes with an extra twinkle of sadness mixed with guilt, for where there was once a strapping young kid of a tree, growing straight and strong for a good ten years or so, there is now just a dried up, needle-shedding nuisance. And for what? Maybe a week of (human) pleasure and adornment, after which it’s off to Ye Olde Wood Chipper with you!

To assuage this guilt, most municipalities now have recycling programs to turn your tree into useful garden mulch instead of unwanted landfill filler. The Hope for Wildlife Centre in Seaforth, Nova Scotia, provides another option for locals -habitat creation for wildlife. A short drive from Dartmouth and Halifax, the wild animal rehabilitation centre will be taking in untreated Christmas trees up until January 1st.

“We use untreated trees to give [the animals] a more natural habitat, for shelter and place to hide, as a windbreak and even as a food supply,” says wildlife centre founder Hope Swinimer, in conversation with the Chronicle Herald. The centre requests only trees that have not been sprayed at the tree lot with pesticides and wants to emphasize the Jan. 1 cut-off – last year they were inundated, says Swinimer. “People just kept up bringing them. It got a little crazy and ended up costing us money to dispose of them,” she said.

But the real break-out trend is the living Christmas tree. “You can replant!” say the many eco-friendlies and gardening types, who encourage buying a potted tree, roots and all, which can be planted in the yard once the festivities are over. A fine option for those of us with the forethought to not only do all the shopping in October but to also dig a big hole out back before the ground freezes.

For the rest of us, hallelujah, there’s tree rental.

Calgary-based FromTheGround Organic Gardens has seen their tree rental service explode this season, with the company unable to keep up with demand at the start of December. “I’ve had such an overwhelming response in the past couple days that I’ve been frantically calling around to all the nurseries I can,” said Landon Kennedy, company owner, to the CBC.

The Sapling Life runs out of Mississauga, Ontario, and like FromTheGround, they will deliver to your door a potted white spruce (they can range in height between one and two metres tall) which they will they pick up in the new year and replant (once you’ve taken off the tinsel, lights and decorations, of course).

“People are becoming more aware of the environmental impact that we’re having as humans,” says Marcelo Lorenzo of the Sapling Life to the Toronto Star. Lorenzo founded the company with his father, Alfredo, in attempt to make the Christmas season more eco-friendly. “We want to change the status quo and the way we see Christmas trees,” says Lorenzo, who plans on developing a geo-tagging service where tree renters can track where their tree ends up getting planted, so that over the years, “they can have their own little forest.”

Rental services range in price between $85 to $180.

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About The Author /

Jayson MacLean
Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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