Genius UK Business Uses Christmas Trees to Protect the Region From Flooding

​Rooted Christmas tree rental

In an effort to combat flooding, a Yorkshire woman realized that thousands of wasted Christmas trees every year could be used as natural flood protection, and started a unique business to do just that.

The Rooted Christmas tree rental delivers a potted Christmas fir, pine, or spruce to a family for the festive season. When the lights are taken down, the company then collects their rentals and replants them to enjoy another growing season.

When the trees get too tall, they are placed on the slopes of the nearby Calder Valley as natural floodwater breaks.

The Sunday Times reports that the towns of Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire have been inundated by serious floods 4 times in the last 15 years, with the most-recent one causing $180 million (£150 million) in damages.

Rooted founder Sara Tomkins established a Christmas tree plantation in the spring of 2020 with 400 trees. Dozens of those original 400 have now become too large for the average living room, and have been hauled off for planting in the upper parts of the Calder Valley to stop floodwaters running down into the two towns below.

What started as a sustainability project turned into a flourishing commercial enterprise. When residents learned how their Christmas tree purchases could be used to protect their towns from floods and reduce waste from rotting trees, all of Tomkins’ original trees were rented out.

According to Tomkins, people pretend the trees are members of the family, and like to rent the same one over and over again to “watch them grow up with their kids.”

“It’s like people adopt them,” she says. “They become part of the family. I’ve got a couple of people already asking if they can have the same tree again in 2023 and I’m trying to gently break it to them that it’s going to be nine foot by then so it won’t fit in their house.”

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Tomkins feels that demand might be 3x her current supply, but as a music venue director, she does the job only in her off hours.

“I do this in my spare time so I don’t have the capacity or the physical space to make it any bigger,” she told The Times. “But the demand being there is such a positive thing because, if we can reduce how many Christmas trees we cut down, that is a massive environmental win.”

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