Woodland Trust's Christmas aim to plant thousands of trees

The Woodland Trust and M&S are encouraging Northern Ireland residents to recycle their Christmas cards this year, as M&S pledges to plant one tree for every 1,000 cards donated in store throughout the month of January.

The charity and retailer have set an ambitious target to collect and recycle more than six million cards across the UK, which would mean more than 6,000 new trees in the ground.

If everyone in Northern Ireland donates one Christmas card, over 1,800 trees could be planted. More trees are desperately needed in Northern Ireland as tree cover is just 8% compared to the UK average of 13%.

Julie Waters from Bangor and her eight-year-old daughter Grace Waters-Doherty recycle their Christmas cards at M&S every year, collecting hundreds. Julie said: “It is great to be able to do some good. Now that Grace is eight years old she knows all about the importance of helping the environment. Tree cover in Northern Ireland is fairly poor, so it is great that we can do our bit to redress this.”

Julie is not the only person backing this year’s charitable scheme. TV presenter Julia Bradbury is also urging the UK public to recycle their cards to help plant thousands of trees across the UK. Mum-of-three Julia is a former presenter of the BBC’s Countryfile and is currently setting up her own online Outdoor Guide (www.theoutdoorguide.co.uk) – featuring a host of online resources for people who love the outdoors.

The Woodland Trust’s Joanne Mathieson said: “Through collecting more than 32 million cards over the last four years, the public and M&S have helped us plant more than 32,000 trees. The beauty of the M&S Christmas Card Scheme lies in its simplicity. People simply need to collect up all their cards after Christmas, which are often lying about, take them to their local M&S store – there are bins in most stores – and M&S will do the rest.”

Alexis Steadman, Plan A Community Relations Manager at M&S said: “A key part of our ethical and environmental programme is helping our customers to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and this brilliant scheme plays an important role in this work. By simply popping into your local M&S and dropping your cards into the collection boxes, customers can help the Woodland Trust to continue turning unwanted waste into much needed trees and preserving the habitat of thousands of species all around the UK.”
More details about the scheme are available at: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/crs