Page last updated at 07:57 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

LA firm offers green Christmas with tree rental service

Christmas tree
Many feel a sense of guilt at seeing trees cut just for a few days

A Los Angeles firm has come up with a way of making Christmas more green - by renting out Christmas trees.

The Living Christmas Company offers to deliver its potted 2ft to 7ft tall trees, and then collect them once the festive season is over.

The trees are electronically tagged so a customer can request the same tree the following year.

Company boss Scott Martin says he has rented out 600 trees this year, costing from $50 (£31) to $185 (£115).

"What we are trying to do is resurrect the symbolism of Christmas," he told the BBC. "People have gone away from it because of the perception that a cut tree is deforestation - so there are environmental reasons for not getting a cut tree.

"So people start switching to an artificial tree, but how Christmassy is that? [A tree] is meant to symbolise new hope, new faith, new life. Does a plastic tree really say that to you?"

One of his customers is Grammy award-winning musician Lucinda Williams. She told the BBC: "It's a sustainable idea. It's good for the planet. It's green."

This is the second year Scott Martin - who calls himself Scotty Claus at this time of year - has run the rental Christmas Tree service. According to the Los Angeles Times, he has 8,000 trees in five different varieties to rent.

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