Have a green Christmas: rent a tree
By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
Jennifer Pitman is watching her toddler Beckett grow up along with their family Christmas tree.
The Los Angeles mom is renting the same Charlie Brown-type potted tree she did last year and she notes the spruce — like her son — has "filled out" since last December. The company that delivered the tree Tuesday will pick it up after the holidays and store it at a nursery until next year, outfitted with a bar code to make sure it's the right one.
Welcome to the fledgling rent-a-tree industry, which has gained ground in recent years as eco-minded consumers seek a natural tree without the possible guilt of dumping it curbside later.
At least seven companies or environmental groups on the West Coast are now offering the service — another option in the evergreen debate whether natural or artificial trees are more eco-friendly.
Pitman's reaction when she first heard about the Living Christmas Co.? "What a freakin' awesome idea," she says. The Los Angeles-area based firm, which did a few trial deliveries in 2008, rented 640 trees last year and expects more than a 1,000 rentals this year.
"It's definitely convenient," says Pittman, now nine months pregnant with her second child, of the $100 door-to-door service. "But the whole philosophy overrules everything else," she says. She grew up on Cape Cod where her family bought and disposed of a tree each year.
This disposal issue is often cited by artificial tree fans, who also note a real tree's potential fire hazard and its messy pine needles.