It's the most wonderful time of the year…to purchase a pile of disposable products to cover future landfills. Not that I'm a grinch—I've got an irrationally sentimental attachment to Christmas time given my atheistic tendencies, and engage in gift-giving as well, though I try to give gifts that are either recyclable (books, but who would do such a thing?) or compostable (house plants). 

One of the most excessive displays of holiday cheer are the public Christmas trees found in major cities around the world during this time of the year. While beautiful, they're rarely sustainable or economical. For some cities, however, such expensive displays are prohibitively expensive. As a result, a number of cash-strapped cities have opted for cheaper, and more sustainable, displays that rival anything you'd see at the Rockefeller Center or Daley Plaza.

Via Christopher Jobson at Colossal, the city of Kaunas, Lithuania has commissioned artist Jolanta Šmidtienė to assemble an affordable holiday display. Using no city funds, Šmidtienė created a 13-meter tall Christmas tree out of recycled green bottles and zip ties. The results are stunning: 

Video of the construction of the tree:

And the completed tree:

In 2010, Quezon City in the Philippines built their own the eco-friendly public Christmas tree:

And perhaps the most impressive example is Copenhagen's Christmas tree, with lights powered by stationary bicycles:

Paul M. Davis


Paul M. Davis

Paul M. Davis tells stories online and off, exploring the spaces where data, art, and civics intersect. I currently work with a number of organizations including Pivotal and

Things I share: Knowledge, technology, reusable resources, goodwill.