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  • Animated image for Facilities Management Facilities Management

    Essential services to help keep your school running smoothly.

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    Everything you need for your school meals and catering requirements.

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Edtech Impact is a school-led platform that aims to help schools discover the best education technologies and evaluate what will work for them.
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We're all making small changes to help improve our sustainability during the festive season, such as switching to recyclable wrapping paper, and purchasing less plastic-wrapped food, but how can we improve the sustainability of our Christmas trees? Read below to see our top tips for sustainable tree removal this Christmas.

Where and when did Christmas trees originate from?

Christmas trees have their roots in the 16th-century Germanic decorations of evergreen trees by Christians, which included candles, apples, roses, and other decorations. Some authors speculate that the Paradise Tree, a prop used in mediaeval performances about Adam and Eve on December 24, may have contributed to the birth of Christmas trees. Over the years, the Christmas tree custom expanded throughout Europe and the world, peaking in popularity in Victorian-era Britain.

What does the waste look like and how does it affect us and the world?

Twelve thousand tonnes of rubbish is created annually in the UK by Christmas trees purchased especially for the holiday season. Approximately five times as much weight as the London Eye is made up of discarded Christmas trees. A report by WRAP estimates, the UK disposes of 160,000 tonnes of trees every January.

A 2-meter-tall real Christmas tree has a carbon footprint of 16 kg CO2 (assuming it ends up in landfill), according to calculations made by the Carbon Trust. In any given year, 14% of individuals discard their artificial Christmas trees and according to research by the Carbon Trust, a fake tree of the same size has a carbon footprint of 40 kg CO2 and is usually not recyclable. Additionally, as they decay, rotting Christmas trees release 100,000 tonnes of methane—25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

How can we be more sustainable with our Christmas trees?

Plan a collection through a tree service

A lot of tree services provide assistance with collecting Christmas trees. They can be contacted to arrange for a pickup.

Take it to the recycling centre in your area

Christmas trees are accepted at most recycling centres. Chips made from them can be used in parks and woodland areas after being shred.

Arrange with the council

In addition to standard rubbish removal services, several governments offer specialised garden waste pickup services. Find out more about your community's Christmas tree pickup service by giving them a call or visiting their website.

Try replanting it!

If you purchased your tree from a garden centre, it most likely arrived in a container. Replant it or use portions of it in other projects. Replanting it is a terrific method to help the environment and lessen your carbon footprint if the roots are still attached. There are also companies in the UK who will plant and look after your tree till next Christmas!

Donate it to a local charity

Christmas trees can be donated to some charities. To find out if they welcome trees, you can get in touch with them.

Try a Christmas tree rental service

Instead of purchasing a tree every year, have a look for a Christmas tree rental service in your area. These services, such as Green Elf Trees, allow you to rent a Christmas tree which is then reused every year. You can even rent the same tree each year with some services! 

 

How can YPO help with commercial tree removal?

YPO have 2 DPS Agreements that can potentially help with removal of Christmas trees – 879 Building in Use Support Services and 881 Grounds Maintenance and Associated Services. 879 has Lot 8 specifically for Waste Management services and 881 may have some grounds maintenance providers who can take away your Christmas Trees once they have seen their purpose fulfilled.

As these frameworks are DPS Agreements, they are open to and suitable for both national and regional suppliers throughout their entirety and are consequently a flexible option, so if you have a preferred supplier in mind and if you are a public sector organisations, particularly local authorities, schools, colleges and universities please get in touch to see what services we can offer you with regards to the management of your Christmas trees.

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The YPO Team

YPO supplies products and services to a wide range of customers including schools, local authorities, charities, emergency services, public sector and other businesses such as nurseries and care homes. YPO are 100% publicly owned, by 13 local authorities, which means the profits made are returned to public sector customers, delivering even better value for money.