It’s the most wonderful time of the year!. If you, like billions of others around the world, are gearing up for the festive season, you probably already have your Christmas tree up and decorated. And you’ll either be a “real” Christmas tree family, or a “fake” Christmas tree family.
Fake Christmas trees have an undeserved bad reputation, in our opinion – because high quality ones are practically indistinguishable from the real thing, and have a ton of advantages. And did you know that polythene is a key material for making hyper realistic artificial Christmas trees?
That’s a new one for our “all the uses for polythene” list!
Polythene is used to make high-end artificial Christmas trees
Christmas tree manufacturers use a variety of materials to make their products. Cheaper variants are typically all plastic, with injection moulded parts and lots of foiled or tinsel-like “leaves”. They don’t look particularly realistic, but they do the job. Even if they do look a bit like toilet brushes…
Fun fact – the first artificial Christmas tree was made by UK company Addis in the 1930s, using their toilet brush machinery. This was due to a shortage of real trees during WWII. The brush bristles looked pretty convincing, and some of the earliest trees produced are still in use today!
Today, polythene components are used for a more realistic finish. That’s because polythene is durable and flexible, and can be moulded into a variety of convincing leaf shapes. Flexibility is important on a product that’ll be enjoyed by children (and inevitably toppled by pets), and other plastics are too stiff to use safely for pokey, needle-shaped leaves.
Polythene trees are more convincing, especially up close. They even have a similar, waxy feel to them as real trees, as well as a similar mass and flex – so they react in a convincing way when you hang decorations on them.
But they are, after all, made of plastic. Is that worse for the environment than a real tree – which is 100% natural? Well, a fake tree could actually be better for the planet, and your patience!
Are real Christmas trees better for the environment?
Real Christmas trees are a must for some people. The smell, the look and feel – you just can’t beat it. But all the watering, and having to turn off the heating just for the tree? That’s a big pain for a growing number of people.
Did we mention the hoovering yet?!
That’s all you’ll seem to do when you’ve got a real Christmas tree in your house… and when the time comes to drag it to the kerb in January, it’ll be a desiccated husk, shedding a trillion jagged needles all over your carpet as you try to move it.
The blanket trick that so many swear by is actually zero help by the time you’ve lifted the hefty dead lump of wood out of its stand. And then, it goes to sit at the end of your driveway or outside your front door, until collection day. Or worse – ends up getting lugged to the dump in your car, on a day you’d rather not be lugging dead trees around.
Have you tried picking shed needles out of car upholstery? It’s not terribly fun.
On top of all that effort, real Christmas trees actually have environmental drawbacks. They might look natural, but their existence is anything but.
Firstly, cutting down trees in large numbers is bad; and real Christmas trees have to be harvested if we want them in our houses. But simply growing real Christmas trees in the first place has a negative impact on the environment.
It takes between 8 and 12 years to grow a 7-foot Christmas tree from a sapling. In this time, it will use water and nutrients year-round. Christmas tree crops require fertile land to grow – which could be used for food production, or as a home for wildlife.
Transporting the felled trees around the country (or world) has a major carbon footprint, too.
In the end, after using all that water and energy, they are incinerated for a meagre energy release, and all that carbon just ends up back in the atmosphere.
In contrast, fake Christmas trees can be used for years – decades, even. They don’t need water, or all that much energy to produce. Land doesn’t have to be cleared to make them. And they look amazing – especially when they’re made from polythene!
Okay, so you won’t have that wonderful pine scent flowing through your home. But you won’t be picking dried pine needles out of your bare feet for the next year, either – or suffering the cold so your tree can last until Christmas day.
And, you’ll actually be doing the planet a favour, bay freeing up land and resources for more important things, reducing waste and carbon emissions, and even diverting plastic waste into Christmas tree production, thanks to recycled polythene.
We don’t make Christmas trees – but we could help you package them!
NPF Packaging gets packaging solutions all wrapped up, using custom polymer blends for all industries. Get a quote now, or call us on 01773 820415 to start designing your own polythene packaging for the New Year.