TREE shelter manufacturer Tubex has worked with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to collect over 16,000 tree shelters from established trees in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales that no longer require protection, bringing the total number of plastic tree shelters collected to be recycled to 150,000 this year alone. 

The actions in Yorkshire came after the UK Government pledged to plant 30,000 hectares of trees every year by 2025 to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, so sapling growth and successful tree planting measures are needed to reach these goals. This ambition, coupled with a current sapling shortage for the 2022 planting season, means tree shelters have never been more important for ensuring future forests have the best chance to establish into mature trees. 

Tree shelters are required by certain types of trees, and their location, for protection from foraging animals and British weather, and also provide an optimal microclimate for saplings to grow to their full potential. According to Tubex data, only 10–20 per cent of the 125 million trees planted in the UK last year required a tree shelter, but when they were used trees had an increased survival rate of approximately 25 per cent and around four times improved growth compared to saplings planted without a shelter. In 2020 alone, tree shelters were estimated to have saved 12.5 m saplings, the equivalent of 14,600 football fields of new trees. 

The collection and recycling work with Yorkshire Millennium Dales Trust followed on from the official launch of Tubex's not-for-profit collection and recycling scheme offer earlier this year, providing the infrastructure and opportunities to responsibly dispose of tree guards, and to close the loop on Tubex’s products. This process involves forestry managers, landowners and farmers safely removing the tree shelter, collecting them together and taking tree shelters to a pre-agreed location for Tubex to then collect, clean, recycle and re-use. Tubex tree shelters currently contain 30 per cent recycled plastic, and the organisation has ambitions for this to be 100 per cent in the next few years. 

Forestry Journal:

Mike Appleton, plastic tree woodlands project officer at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, said: “It’s been fantastic this week to have so many tree shelters successfully and responsibly removed from the beautiful locations across the Yorkshire Dales. 

"I want to thank landowners and farmers for bringing these to us, and Craven Cattle Marts in Skipton for kindly allowing us to use their location as a drop-off point. All of this means removed tree shelters can continue on to Tubex who will recycle and re-use the tubes collected. 

READ MORE: Scott Blakelock: Mitigating the risks with essential PPE

"Our beautiful Yorkshire forests are so important for current and future generations, so we’re working to give saplings the best shot at becoming established trees for many years to come.” 

Mike Carroll, customer care director at Tubex, said: “We’re really encouraged and pleased with the amount of Tubex tree shelters we’ve removed this week, with the help of the wonderful Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. 

Forestry Journal:

"Certain trees need plastic tree shelters to have the best chances of growing to successful trees for people to enjoy in the future, but we know some people are concerned around the disposal of plastic causing issues. This is why we are taking action to help solve that issue with our Collection and Recycling scheme, and we’ll continue to work with organisations and forestry managers across the UK to clean, recycle and reuse our products to close the loop on our products.”