By Caoimhe Fitzgerald (TY student at Coláiste Mhuire)

CHRISTMAS tree sales in Clare remain strong despite surge in popularity towards artificial trees in recent years, as householders are being urged to consider the environment when shopping this festive season.

Although real Christmas tree sales remain steady in Clare, their artificial counterpart has been growing popular in recent years. Out of 130 people that answered the Clare Echo online survey 80% used artificial trees while 20% preferred real ones.

The Clare Echo took to the streets of Ennis asking the public why they prefer one type of tree over the other. Some prefer artificial trees because they see it as a sustainable option, as they can reuse the same tree every year. Others believe artificial trees are a more convenient option, with benefits such as having lights built into them. Emer Cleary from Ennis said, I’ve always had a real tree but a couple of years ago I invested in an artificial one as well”. Many now view it as an investment to purchase an artificial tree as it will last for years, in the long run saving them money.

The Quinns at Green Acres Fruit and Veg shop in Ennis said: “We’ve been selling Christmas trees for 40 years now, we get a quota of trees and sell it every year. They’re nearly sold out this year which is fantastic. Where there’s Santa you have to get a real tree, but when Santas gone you get an artificial one. I think many Irish people get artificial trees as its easier when they get older but when Santa’s in the house you have to get a real one”.

onetreeplanted.org, a global tree planting organisation states that “It’s much more sustainable to cut down a real tree each year… It takes around 7 years to grow an average-sized Christmas tree, and as trees grow, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and use 10x fewer resources than artificial tree factories. Real trees are better for the environment and for whom jobs and income are generated”.

Local Green Party Senator Róisín Garvey advises people to be more considerate when choosing your Christmas tree. “A second-hand artificial Christmas tree that someone is giving away or selling is a good option. Some people have real trees in pots, which they use every year, this is probably the greenest option of all”.

Once Christmas time is over, people can then either plant the tree back into the ground or keep it in the pot until next year. Similarly, Clare climate Activist, Futureproof Clare member and past general election runner for People Before Profit Therese O’Donoghue states, “I think if you have an artificial tree, if you can keep it for life, all the better, I wouldn’t go out to buy a new one”.

Róisín Garvey also advises people to be conscious of waste this Christmas. “One of the things we see across every socioeconomic background is that we’re throwing away nearly half our food waste, “there’s no shortage of food, so maybe people should buy less food and if they run out, they can always go to the shop and get some more. I think food waste is something we have to take seriously, it’s something that’s happening in our own individual homes”. Senator Garvey also suggests that people should put more time into giving presents as last-minute shopping can often result in people getting presents that they don’t even want, “either put time into giving presents or at the very least try and shop local”. She stresses that second hand shops are a great place to shop for Christmas presents.

Therese O’Donoghue agrees that change needs to be made. She attended the recent Cop28 conference in Dubai where world leaders agreed that most countries will make the commitment to “transition away from fossil fuels”. She says, “It’s very hard to get anything that doesn’t have some form of fossil fuels in it, once you start to be aware of that, you start to accept that we shouldn’t buy new stuff”. The message is to be reducing, reusing and recycling this Christmas and in the new year in the aim to move away from fossil fuels. “If we can come up with novel presents for people..ways of gifting presents without the input of fossil fuels, that can still put a smile on someone’s face”.

 

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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