Day 9 Banner
Day 9 Banner

Recycling for a Reason: How ellenor is Taking a Festive Approach to Sustainability this Christmas

These days, climate change is a topic that’s rarely far from public conversation, and more and more people are wanting to know what they can do to help. With organisations having such a crucial role to play in the world’s ongoing sustainability efforts, we are doing our bit this Christmas.

Because, despite the joy it brings to many, Christmas is also a time of excess; when the pressure to buy and consume overrides the importance of recycling and reusing. Currently, around six million Christmas trees are discarded every year, with a staggering 250 tonnes of trees – all of which could be composted – thrown straight in the bin. 

Christmas trees and sustainability, of course, have a complicated relationship – something ellenor’s Supporter Engagement Officer Leah is quick to recognise.

“A lot of people don’t want a Christmas tree because, well… you’re cutting down trees! But I think if we can do something about what happens at the other side, people can still have a Christmas tree. I have a plastic tree – it’s not my favourite thing, because it’s plastic! – but my other half, in turn, doesn’t want a real one because of [the environmental impact].

“It’s a Catch-22. You want one because you love them, but actually they can be equally bad. So it’s just about doing something to counteract that – [to think about] the full life cycle.”

That’s why this festive season, Leah is leading the charge on ellenor’s brand-new Christmas tree recycling initiative. For a minimum donation of just £12.50, we will be offering a Christmas tree collection service to people living in Kent. The goals are twofold: raising money to support the vital care and support ellenor provides to life-limited patients and their families, whilst also supporting the planet.

And even if you don’t participate in ellenor’s Christmas tree recycling initiative, there are still plenty of ways in which you can ‘chip in’.

Once collected and chipped – a task made possible by ellenor’s corporate partners in the community – the chips will be sold on via local enterprises, such as Meopham PYO and Broadditch Farm Shop. Every pound spent on these chips will help ensure ellenor is able to continue offering its vital care and support of life-limited patients – and their families – within the local Gravesend community.


Some chippings, Leah explains, will be sold to local sports clubs, while others will go towards the maintenance of ellenor’s hospice garden – a space used and enjoyed by palliative patients of all ages, and their families.

A long-term advocate of sustainability and ‘upcycling’, Leah counts among her hobbies the salvaging of old jars and pots, to refashion for novel purposes. For Leah, then, ellenor’s Christmas tree initiative is “a labour of love”. But she also believes that tackling environmental issues is a responsibility that all charities must share.

“We’re a charity, but we’re also a business – and all businesses have a CSR (corporate social responsibility). This is something that we really believe in from a corporate perspective. Just because we’re a charity, it doesn’t mean we don’t have to share this responsibility.”

But, thanks to ellenor’s robust network of dedicated supporters, volunteers, and donors within the local communities, this responsibility isn’t one the charity has to shoulder alone.

“Ultimately, it’s the relationships we have in the local community that allows us to do what we do. These personal connections are something you don’t get with a big national charity, because they don’t have the capabilities to do that – to dedicate that time to the individual. People really have a connection to us, being local, which makes it easier to get people involved with initiatives such as our Christmas tree recycling campaign.

“Really, those are the best conversations we have; because we’re talking to genuinely nice, wholesome, kind people. With them behind us and a continuing commitment to making the world a greener place this Christmas, anything is possible.”

This December, ellenor’s Christmas tree recycling initiative isn’t the only thing going on. A festive edition of ellenor’s monthly quiz will take place on the 15th, while Lights of Love – an online service of remembrance to honour those no longer with us – is running on 18th December 2021. There are many ways to get involved , or – to pledge your support to helping life-limited patients and their families through the toughest time of their lives – please give what you can.