Real or fake? Waste chiefs and garden centres put forward their view for which Christmas tree is greenest

By Paddy von Behr

Getting a real Christmas trees could be the environmental option, according to the manager of a Greater Manchester garden centre – but waste chiefs argue the opposite.

The never-ending debate between authentic and ‘fake’ trees will ramble on, but artificial advocates have long pointed the carbon footprint of real trees.

However, Jamie Smith, manager of Altrincham Garden Centre, is offering free advice on selecting a tree until Christmas Eve and preaching the up-side of the real thing.

“One of the benefits of having a real Christmas tree is that it can be better for the environment,” he said.

“Although they aren’t carbon neutral, Christmas trees help to reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing carbon dioxide while they are growing.

“They can also be recycled and turned into mulch, which can then be used on flower beds.”

On average, just over a quarter of a million real Christmas trees are purchased in the Greater Manchester area each year.

The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority offers a number of options for disposing of them, including kerbside collection and Household Waste Recycling Centres.

However, this process stretches GMWDA to its limits after Christmas each year and they are preaching a different message to Mr Smith.

“We do encourage residents to purchase a tree which can be re-used each year,” a spokesperson told MM.

But the garden centre, on Green Lane in Timperley, insists going real in 2012 isn’t something to feel guilty about.

And Mr Smith is providing free advice on how to get the most out of your authentic tree this year.

“We will be providing visitors with free advice on how to select and care for Christmas trees this yuletide,” he added.

“This will include tips on how to look after your tree, so it lasts into the New Year.”

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