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French agency advice on how to choose a Christmas tree

With six million Christmas trees sold in France every year, a French environment agency has issued advice on how to choose the right variety, and how to best look after and recycle your tree.

Environment agency Ademe (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie) has explained that the majority of households in France choose a living tree to decorate their home over the Christmas period, as explained in French newspaper Le Figaro.

The popularity of the trees available depends on their characteristics, including the Nordmann variety - which keeps its needles but has no smell -, is favoured by around 75% of households that buy natural trees, and costs on average €27.60.

The next most-popular is the Epicea, which smells good but loses its needles, and costs on average €20.20.

All can be replanted outside if bought in a pot, Ademe recommends.

Similarly, trees can be “recycled” by being cut up into firelogs or reduced into compost to fertilise garden plants, the agency said.

It also cautioned against buying trees covered in artificial snow or coloured paint, because they tend to be created using harmful chemicals, which can both “degrade the air” of your home and also be very flammable, it said.

Similarly, chemical coverings make it more difficult for trees to be recycled or disposed of safely after Christmas.

For those who prefer to choose an artificial tree - made in plastic, wood or metal - Ademe advises consumers to prioritise buying a quality model, so that the tree, which uses significant resources to be made, can be reused over and over again every year.

Ademe recommends that an artificial tree should withstand use for up to 20 Christmases before needing to be replaced, but instead estimates that most are only kept for six years before being thrown away.

It also advised consumers - both those with real and artificial trees - to not leave Christmas lights on unattended, because the heat of the lamps can cause a fire risk.

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