When you consider the fact that the fresh-cut tree sitting in your house at Christmas time often takes more than a decade to grow, it feels pretty wasteful to toss it after just a few weeks.
That’s why the father-son duo behind Mississauga’s Sapling Life offer Christmas trees that can be reused or replanted after use. Alfredo and Marcelo Lorenzo wanted to offer an environmentally conscious alternative to fake plastic trees, which eventually wind up in landfills, and the fresh-cut ones that can’t be replanted.
For prices between $85 and $176, Sapling Life rents out white spruce trees in a range of sizes, which are delivered straight to your door. It’s a similar set-up to West Coast companies like Evergrow Christmas Trees Co. and Carbonsync.
“People are becoming more aware of the environmental impact that we’re having as humans,” Marcelo told the Toronto Star.
Fresh-cut trees have a much lower carbon footprint than artificial ones, which are usually manufactured and shipped overseas rather than grown locally. They also provide lots of environmental benefits while they’re being grown, like producing oxygen and storing greenhouse gases. But when towns and cities aren’t equipped to compost these trees, or collect them for another use, they end up in the dump alongside artificial ones.
Sapling Life picks up their potted trees on January 1, and the customer chooses whether they want to rent the tree the following year or have it replanted somewhere in southern Ontario. For every tree purchased, the company also plants four sapling-sized trees in reforestation areas outside the GTA. Eventually, they’d like to develop a tagging system that would allow families to track where their trees are replanted, giving them “their own little forest,” says Marcelo.
The white spruce trees they rent and re-plant are native to Ontario, which means that they’re good for the environment and can grow relatively easily when they’re replanted. But perhaps the best part of renting a potted tree is the chance to get that real Christmas tree smell without the mess of pine-needles that come with it.