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Arad's Christmas tree and Bordeaux's art installation, Source: Iustin Cionca on Facebook / ARNAUD LAPIERRE DESIGN STUDIO

EU cities embrace sustainable alternatives to cutting Christmas trees

EU cities embrace sustainable alternatives to cutting Christmas trees

Bordeaux and Arad decided not to chop down trees this year, while Prague gave its 2020 spruce a second life

December is a magical month when homes, offices, shops, and cities light up with Christmas decorations. It is also when residents and tourists await the display of tall and beautiful Christmas trees with breath-taking lighting ceremonies that mark the beginning of the festive season. 

However, as times change and governments turn towards more environmentally friendly practices, the action of cutting down Christmas trees no longer seems appealing. For this reason, many EU cities have found sustainable alternatives.

Bordeaux does not want ‘dead trees’ 

Earlier this year, Mayor of Bordeaux Pierre Hurmic announced that the French city would no longer display “dead trees” in its squares. Not surprisingly, many residents viewed this statement as controversial, while others eagerly anticipated the sustainable alternative.

This month, the municipality finally unveiled the awaited Christmas tree, displaying an art installation by a local artist. This installation consisted of emerald-coloured mirrors and recycled glass in the shape of a tall Christmas tree.

The city unveiled its modern tree on 11 December in Pey-Berland Square, where it will remain until 2 January.

Arad turns to recycled materials 

This year, the Romanian City of Arad also opted for a more sustainable tree. That is, instead of chopping down a tall and beautiful spruce, it created one using wooden branches and small satin strands. The creation of this tree undoubtedly proved to be a painstaking process as each satin strand had to be glued to the branches. 

Aside from this, the municipality further reduced the environmental impact of its installation by using decorations from recycled materials. 

Prague makes furniture from its Christmas tree

In 2020, the Czech capital did not opt for an environmentally friendly alternative to a real Christmas tree. However, it vowed to transform it into furniture for an elderly home

In May 2021, the City of Prague revealed that it had kept its promise as the Home for the Elderly in Malešice received two garden benches and four flower beds. Thus, rather than cutting down a tree and discarding it in a landfill or incinerator once the holiday season was over, the capital gave it a second life.

With these actions, the three cities prove that there are various ways to be sustainable. Whether this means refusing to cut down trees or deciding to extend their life, municipalities can find many ways of being more environmentally friendly.   

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