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Green Is The New Black

Is the Noble Fir still noble? The true cost of our Christmas trees

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Have you thought about how your Christmas tree came to you, where it’s traveled from and the footprint that it has left behind?

The use of noble fir dates back to the ancient continental practice of gathering pine branches during the winter solstice to anticipate the coming spring. This tradition has spread throughout much of the modern world with homes ushering in Christmas with well-adorned pine trees.
And indeed, these Noble firs deserve every shiny ornament and trinket we love hanging on them. Because chances are, they’ve traveled thousands of miles from the far icy regions of Denmark or Sweden to our little red dot, Singapore.
Being a red dot, we are also red hot and the Noble fir finds itself shriveling at the intensity of the Singapore sun. This means that shipments and storage of fir have to be air-conditioned throughout. For many companies, this poses an additional cost that is unprofitable, as Ikea suggested in 2016 when they ceased to sell fresh pine trees due to the high maintenance costs involved.
This should ring alarm bells to conscious consumers who are thinking about what option is best for a sustainable and green Christmas. According to Channel News Asia, Singapore imported almost 14,300 trees and wreaths un 2016, the carbon footprint left by the transport and use of air-conditioning to keep these pines fresh should make anyone question the nobility of purchasing ‘noble firs’.
So what can we do this Christmas to reduce our own carbon footprints or should we say, FIRprints?

1. Go for Christmas wreaths made from locally grown pine trees by a small Singapore-based business,WeirdandWonderfulEdibles.
The process starts with the harvesting of pine branches fresh on the morning of an order, these beautifully scented pines then get twinned through hand-made wire backings. Once the familiar donut-shaped wreath is formed, it is embellished with locally made ornaments from sustainable materials or upcycled decorative pieces. The result is something familiar with an ethical twist – a truly local wreath that we can be proud of hang up for a green Christmas season. Email Joanna for more details and purchases.
2. Go the whole green mile, get creative and upcycle your own Christmas tree.
If you are looking for a fun bonding session with your family or some last minutes ideas on how to get festive in your home, check out these awesome ideas for upcycling your Christmas tree on Pinterest. From ladders with bobbles, to ties, to plastic bottles, to wine bottles, to coat hangers – there is a beautiful wayto repurpose your junk! Save items from ending up in a landfill while getting your creative juices flowing.
3. Usually, plastic is a big no-no.However, in our little red dot, we’re a little different.
In Singapore, we import fir trees from the snowy parts of the world like Northern Europe and the United States. In 2009, According to Wild Singapore, if all Singapore’s 12,000 Christmas trees went through the air freight cycle, they would emit about 550 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the footprint of six return trips to the moon by plane. If they were brought in by sea rather than by air, the carbon cost would shrink to about 200 tonnes. Now imagine, 2016, the number of trees imported has gone up to almost14,300 according to Channel News Asia. YIKES, we can’t even do that kind of math. If you really want to have a tree, opt for a plastic tree that you can reuse for years and years instead of a real fir tree that needs to be replaced yearly.
Do you have other ideas for how we can go green this Christmas? If so we’d love to hear from you. Tis the season to be conscious after all!  
Looking for more inspiration on how to go green this festive season? Check our Green Is The New Black’s 12 Days of Conscious Christmas.
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