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Going green for Christmas: Cambridge, Ont. tree farm making compostable cotton netting

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A Christmas tree farm in Cambridge, Ont. has developed a new type of netting that’s better for the environment.

Shoppers everywhere have been searching for the perfect pine, spruce or fir for the holidays.

“There’s been a dramatic demand,” said Peter Williams, manager of Madeira Farm. ”We used to be open until Christmas almost for a lot of the local customers, but since 2020, we’ve sold out in two weekends.”

Chickadee Christmas Trees in Cambridge, meanwhile, have already sold over a thousand trees so far this season.

At their farm up to a hundred trees can be cut, baled and loaded onto vehicles in a single day.

While the tradition remains the same, Chickadee is introducing a new product which it calls a first-of-its-kind.

The netting, which wraps around the tree, is often made of plastic.

Their version is 100 per cent compostable cotton.

“If we can’t find it, we’re going to try and have it made,” said Alison McCrindle, the owner of Chickadee Christmas Trees. “We developed this biodegradable netting.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” said customer Sorin Bugarin. “It’s good for the environment and it’s safe.”

“I think that’s amazing that we don’t have to waste a bunch of plastic,” added customer Isobel Ker.

 The netting is already being used by several tree farms across southern Ontario, including Madeira Farm in Guelph-Eramosa.

“We thought it was a good idea to try it out,” said Williams. “It’s biodegradable and doesn’t use as much oil.”

“Even if somebody left it in their backyard and didn’t recycle it, it would turn back into organic matter,” said Jennifer Lynes, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s faculty of environment. “This is one company that’s taken the initiative to go that extra mile.”

Chickadee is proud to be making the holidays a little greener.

“We really hope to get rid of this single-use plastic netting,” McCrindle said.

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