Is Renting a Christmas Tree More Sustainable?

renting christmas tree
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / TanteTati

December is here, and you’re looking for ways to make your favorite Christmas traditions more sustainable? In this article, we discuss whether renting a Christmas tree is an eco-friendly option.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Renting Christmas Trees

There are a couple of things to consider when renting a Christmas tree.

First, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks:

  • It can be more expensive than a cut-down tree
  • There may not be a rental service nearby
  • You need to take good care of your tree to ensure it survives past the holidays
  • Potted trees consume more water

Here’s why you should rent a potted Christmas tree rather than get a cut-down tree:

  • Zero waste: Your tree will not be tossed as opposed to many cut-down trees that take up much landfill space and release a high amount of methane as they decompose.
  • Improved carbon footprint: If your tree does not end up in the landfill, it won’t release harmful greenhouse gases into the environment. Moreover, as the tree is replanted and hopefully grows old, it absorbs carbon dioxide.
  • Support local businesses: Besides the benefits of supporting a local business and economy, you’ll also know where your tree originated from
  • Fresher trees: Trees in pots with the root ball intact don’t dry out as much as cut-down trees, therefore, they pose less of a fire hazard.

Where You Can Rent a Christmas Tree

Cut-down Christmas trees will not last very long, potted ones can be replanted.
Cut-down Christmas trees will not last very long, potted ones can be replanted. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / jplenio)

Though renting Christmas trees is still a relatively new phenomenon to many, it is gaining popularity. If you’re looking to rent your own living tree this year, it’s best to search for local businesses offering this service.

Though the number of Christmas tree rental services in the US is rather limited, we have compiled a list with a few examples to give you an idea of what to look for. And who knows, maybe one of them is right near you:

If you cannot find any local Christmas tree rentals, ask around locally–perhaps you’ll inspire someone to include this in their business model. You could also try to find a grower who sells potted Christmas trees. Assuming you can find a way to replant it after the holidays, you still get your zero-waste tree. Some Christmas Tree vendors sell potted trees, but you can also find them at garden centers and home improvement stores.

If you can, look for a tree that has been pot-grown and not one that was dug up and then replanted in a pot. These trees are often damaged at the roots and less likely to survive.

How to Care for Your Rental Tree

By taking good care of your tree over the holidays, you give it a chance to be replanted and grow old. To improve its chance of survival, you shouldn't keep it inside your home much longer than three weeks.
By taking good care of your tree over the holidays, you give it a chance to be replanted and grow old. To improve its chance of survival, you shouldn’t keep it inside your home much longer than three weeks. (Foto: Utopia / Sharon Hodge)

Rented Christmas trees require a bit more care than your regular cut-down tree. Here’s what you should know to make it last past the holidays:

  • Potted trees need time to adjust to temperature changes. Even though you probably want to bring your tree inside your cozy living room to decorate as soon as you get it — don’t just yet. Instead, give it some time in a room or space that isn’t heated but warmer than the outside. This could be a garage, a hallway or a basement, perhaps. You can move it into your warmer rooms after a couple of days.
  • Water regularly but avoid water logging. The amount also depends on the size–we recommend checking with your supplier.
  • Don’t use decorations that contain plastic or other materials that are harmful to the environment.

Read more:

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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