Posts Tagged ‘environment’
Company rents out real trees in pots — roots and all
PORTLAND, Ore. – For years, Pat de Garmo’s Christmas tree was her aging yucca plant.
She doesn’t like the idea of killing trees, and the size of her yard prevents her from getting a potted one. So year after year she strung lights and ornaments on the indoor yucca plant, hanging toy drums and colored orbs from its stiff branches.
For environmentally conscious consumers like de Garmo — and their numbers abound in this liberal Northwest city — a venture that rents out living Christmas trees is filling a void.
The Original Living Christmas Tree Company founded by John Fogel, 39, has rented out 419 Christmas trees this holiday season, starting at $55 for a 7-foot Douglas fir.
The trees are taken out of the ground, roots and all, put into pots, and delivered to families in the Portland area. Soon after New Year’s, Fogel and his crew pick up the trees and deliver them to parks, school districts and other groups who pay around $10 to have the trees planted on their property.
“It seems like to cut a tree and put it in your house and have it dry out and then just toss it away is such a shame. This way, I know it will be replanted — no guilt,” said the 61-year-old de Garmo, a retired nurse, who hasn’t decorated her indoor plants since she discovered the rent-a-tree business three years ago.
Officials at the National Christmas Tree Association say they know of no other rent-a-tree business venture in the United States.
While Fogel says he could grow beyond his current orders, he maintains a strict policy of accepting no more orders than he can find buyers willing to plant the trees come January.
“Just the idea of cutting all of these trees — these living things for decorations — kind of appalls me,” said 44-year-old Glen Jacobs, a high school theater teacher in Portland, who along with his family has turned renting a tree into a yearly tradition.
While tree-rental businesses appear to be a rarity, buying live Christmas trees that have been placed in pots is less so.
Steve Mannhard is a board member of the National Christmas Tree Association. About a decade ago customers began showing up with shovels at his sprawling Christmas tree farm on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
“People started trying to dig the trees out of the ground. I asked them: ‘Why are you doing that?’ They said, ‘Because I want it to live,’” said Mannhard, 57, who began offering potted trees in addition to cut ones at Fish River Trees, near Summerdale, Ala., in 1992.
Last year, out of a total of nearly 5,000 trees he sold, about 1,000 were potted, said Mannhard — a fact he says underscores the popularity of the living tree concept.
“Trees and human beings have a close relationship — and some people are more sensitive to that,” he said.
I am highly opinionated, I’m not going to lie. And I’m not one to keep my opinions to myself in most cases. After all, a girlfriend needs to know that black patent leather shoes are not to be worn by day, and a husband needs to know that if I want to sell my car and ride a bike (read: mooch his car whenever possible), that he’s just going to have to deal with it.
But there are a few topics for which I’ll never understand the need for a debate. Politics, for example. I stay informed and I have specific, fact-supported opinions, but I don’t go shouting them from the rooftops. It’s not that I’m not open to new ideas, I just like to get them from informed sources, not Joe Loudmouth.
Environmental issues aren’t so cut and dry. Yes, I nagged my girlfriend and her husband until they finally ordered recycle bins because COME ON PEOPLE. Now they’re happy little recyclers and the world is a slightly better place.
But what about when it’s not your besties committing the environmental crime? Last weekend, I picniced at our local beach with a couple very good friends and a few extended friends. When it came time to pack up, some crushed beer cans remained on the ground. “Not mine,” everyone crowed, and began to walk away. I rolled my eyes, picked them all up and put them in our group garbage bag, which was plump with beer bottles and cans. The carrier of that bag then plopped it in the public garbage can.
I hesitated, eyeing the bag and wondering if anyone would be offended if I grabbed it and tossed it in our car to take home to sort and recycle. In the end, I left the bag. I figured I’d already made a person or two feel douchy for not picking up the beer cans, and I didn’t want to be one of THOSE people.
In hindsight I think acting on my instincts might have inspired a person or two to think differently, and I wish I’d stuck to my guns. Oh well, at least I picked up the cans.