Local Edinburgh woman spearheads campaign to ‘Love Real Trees This Christmas’

Zoe Strong for the Woodland Trust Christmas card recycling program

If everyone in Scotland recycles just one Christmas card at Marks and Spencer this year, the Woodland Trust will be able to plant more than 5,000 trees across the country.

Edinburgh fundraiser and long-time supporter of the festive M&S scheme, Zoe Strong (31) is spearheading this year’s campaign by raising awareness now in the hope that others will make a note in their diaries to drop their cards off at M&S after the Christmas break.

Zoe can attest that this really will make a difference.  She explained: “Each year I support M&S’ Christmas Card Recycling Scheme by dropping my cards off in store and this year I got to see what that means for the countryside. New trees just down the road at a Woodland Trust site in North Wood in Livingston. Even though the trees had only been planted this year, you could already see the woodland taking shape and coming to life.“

Zoe Strong is not the only advocate of the charitable scheme. Comedian Jo Brand, a Woodland Trust supporter, is also encouraging people to get behind this year’s campaign. She says: “Do you get many Christmas Cards? I don’t, normally one from my mum and one from Weightwatchers. If you get some cards at Christmas, don’t chuck them, put them in the recycling bin specifically for that purpose at M&S – and Woodland Trust will turn your old cards into brand new trees. Come on, it’s easy…just collect them up and dump them in the bins at M&S…you don’t want to be like me with my two sad cards still hanging round in April!”

The UK is 10,000 trees richer thanks to the public’s efforts last year – a staggering 10 million cards were dropped into M&S stores. This season, special card collection bins will be in M&S stores* from 2 January to 31 January 2014 and M&S will fund the planting of one tree for every 1,000 cards recycled, likely to result in thousands more trees throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“It’s win, win,” says Jo Mathieson of the Woodland Trust. “By recycling cards via the Marks & Spencer Recycling Scheme, you are playing a key part in turning unwanted waste into much needed trees! With 18% tree cover, Scotland fares better than the rest of the UK but is still woefully short of trees when compared to the EU average of 37%. By dropping your cards off at M&S stores in January, you’re helping us to plant new woodlands or, to think of it another way, grow new homes for hundreds of species, from dormice to woodpeckers, beetles to butterflies.”

Mike Barry, Director of Plan A at M&S said, “This is a fantastic campaign which provides a really easy way for everyone to get involved in planting new woodland and preserving our important natural habitats by doing something as simple as dropping your old Christmas cards off at a M&S store.”

The Woodland Trust has been planting trees and standing up for woodland for 40 years. In 1984, the Trust acquired its first wood in Scotland. Today  the Trust owns 80 sites across Scotland covering 8,750 hectares which are open all year round for the public to enjoy free of charge.

To find out more, speak to your local M&S store manager or visit www.plana.marksandspencer.com or www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/christmascards

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