Deck the halls

A Barr Group recipe.

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With sustainability in mind, we have taken the liberty of sharing our recipe for sustainable seasonal decorations.

Sustainability is one of Barr Group’s central values – through embracing and incorporating new sustainable technologies, recycling site waste (thank you to Enterprise Skip Hire for their incredibly thorough waste sorting service!), sourcing low embodied carbon materials and using local human efforts wherever possible.


Here are our 10 top tips:

  • Think paper and glass instead of plastic. This year’s must-have is clusters of giant paper stars; maximum visual for minimal environmental impact!
  • Seek out locally made, handcrafted pieces – town and village Christmas markets are a great place to start.
  • Choose special, sentimental items; decorations which can become heirlooms, passed from generation to generation.
  • Lots of Christmas tree farms are now offering pot-grown or replantable Christmas trees, as well as using sustainable growing techniques. Look out for their green credentials.
  • If buying a cut tree, it is vitally important to return it to the soil (see info below for the science behind the theory and recycling logistics).
  • Create stunning green table decorations using the Christmas tree offcuts - remove lower branches to make space for prezzies underneath.
  • Use Christmas lights in warm white for maximum hygge, if possible, using energy from solar panels!
  • Strip your present wrapping back to traditional brown or uncoated paper (we are massive Katie Leamon fans) and recyclable ribbons (iron and wind, ready for next year).
  • A moss-based wreath; our favourite is the all-green version from Amber at Howe Farm Flowers; local, sustainable and always beautiful!
  • Finally for the ultimate in seasonal hygge... candles everywhere!

Christmas trees – the big debate...

As we know, trees grow by taking greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. A Christmas-tree-sized conifer stores carbon dioxide and carbon representing about 50% of the dry weight of the wood in a tree at harvest time. If the tree is composted, then that carbon is sequestered back into the soil and not released into the atmosphere. The vitally important piece of the sustainable Christmas tree jigsaw, therefore, is to make sure your tree is returned to the soil. Most county council tree recycling points and green waste guarantee that Christmas trees and foliage are composted, which is then sold on to local farmers. Oxfordshire Christmas tree recycling drop-off points here:

South Oxfordshire

West Oxfordshire

Similar links can be found for tree recycling services in the Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Gloucestershire areas.

The other great news for real Christmas tree lovers, straight from researchers at Lund University and Stockholm University in Sweden, is that as well as storing carbon, spruces, pines, and firs are exceptionally adept at absorbing methane, a greenhouse gas believed to be about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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