A Christmas gift that reduces your carbon footprint

We are all being encouraged to reduce our carbon emissions — the much publicised change.ie website lets us calculate our carbon number and gives advice on how to reduce it. As Christmas approaches, the gifts we buy often further add to our carbon footprint as much carbon has been produced during their manufacture while their packaging, often a large component of the gift, also has to be disposed of.

The giving of a tree as a Christmas gift produces the opposite effect. A tree uses carbon as it grows, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If you give a tree as a present you will be reducing carbon emissions. Throughout its life an average tree will remove 12.5kg of carbon dioxide a year once mature. Over its lifetime one tree will offset five return air trips from Dublin to London.

Any other reasons to give trees as gifts this Christmas? Plenty!

A tree is a gift for life. Your gift will be enjoyed throughout the life of the recipient. Its form and interest changes throughout the year, and it will change year on year. Trees provide shelter from wind and shade from sun. They also support and encourage wildlife in the garden. Trees add aesthetic and monetary value to any garden.

Your local garden centre or landscaper has a variety of trees to suit different gardens. They will advise on types to choose and how to plant. Winter is the ideal time to plant trees, allowing them to become established in the ground before spring growth starts.

Give a tree this Christmas and know that you are helping to reduce carbon emissions. A tree is a gift for life.

Barbara Duff, Oakleaf Nurseries, Shanbally, Lemybrien, Co Waterford, is a wholesale supplier of trees to nurseries and garden centres throughout the country.

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