ARTIFICIAL PVC TREE
6ft Cannock Great Value Christmas Tree, £34.99, very.co.uk THE most popular — and cheapest — artificial trees are made by shredding PVC plastic into tinsel-like strands, and winding them around metal branches.
‘These trees are the worst — PVC is one of the most toxic forms of plastic, because of the chlorine molecules it contains,’ says Emma. ‘It’s very polluting both because of the energy and resources used to make it, and if it’s burnt at the end of its life.’
PVC trees can’t be recycled, as the plastic and metal is mixed up. while it won’t create carbon dioxide, it never decomposes.
If you already own one, reduce its environmental impact with repeated use. The Carbon Trust estimates a plastic tree used for three years is better in carbon footprint terms than a real tree in landfill. If it is used for eight years, it is better than a real tree that is burnt. Used for 12 years, it is better than a real tree that ends up as compost. ‘afterwards, donate it,’ suggests Emma. LOOKS: 2/5 ECO-FRIENDLINESS: 5/5 (if reused for 12 years or more. Otherwise: 1/5) SCORE: 7/10