Do Trees Absorb Carbon Dioxide 🌳: When we were still young students, our respective schools taught us the importance of trees. They also taught us the ongoing global problem, namely deforestation. Additionally, teachers educated us on the importance of trees breathing in carbon dioxide, which benefits the environment. But is all of that true?


A Bit About Waster

Before we debate on whether trees absorb carbon dioxide or not, let me first share with you Waster.

We here at Waster provide you with innovative solutions for you and your business’s waste management and recycling needs. Additionally, we provide flexible, 30-day contracts instead of the typical lock-in contracts, which proves to be better.

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Maybe Trees Don’t Store Carbon Dioxide, After All

You read that right. Despite popular beliefs, some experts suggest that trees do not store carbon dioxide. On the contrary, they think tropical forests are huge sources of carbon emissions. Researchers discovered last 2017 that South American, African, and Asian forests are releasing 425 million metric tonnes of carbon every year. Why is that so?


carbon dioxide


Deforestation Is One Cause

Think of a certain forest, any forests in the world you can think of. And imagine forests as sort of like a sponge absorbing water, which instead soaks carbon dioxide. We all know that at some point, the sponge will absorb too much and will reach its limit, leaking out the excess water, as a result.

The same is true for forests. Trees do have limits on the amount of carbon dioxide they can absorb. This results in unabsorbed carbon still lingering in the air, all the while trees releasing carbon, too. Few trees cannot handle too much carbon all at once. And all of this is due to deforestation. Additionally, more carbon is emitted once trees die and decompose. What can we do about it?


Maybe Planting More Trees Can Help Absorb More Carbon Dioxide, Right?

“All we have to do is plant trees, right? Pfft, that’s easy! We can just organise tree planting projects,” as stated by some of my colleagues when talking about this issue.

“But it’s not that easy to replace so much trees in so little time!” I said.

Although this approach can help to some extent, we have to look at in on all angles. In saying this, there is still some disadvantage of planting more trees. First of all, this article (well-thought-out article, kudos!) perfectly explains the scenario of planting more trees. When a tree reaches 40 years old, it absorbs and cancels out about 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. That is a huge amount of carbon dioxide. But, we also have to consider the fact that average human activity emits about 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in the air every year. How many trees do we have to plant to offset my – or our – carbon footprint?

In theory, we have to plant about 40 billion trees every year to counter this. Only after 40 years would the originally planted trees cancel out the now-increased carbon dioxide levels emitted into the atmosphere. And we also have to consider the fact that the land we have to support trees is also limited. Are there any other ways to reduce carbon emissions on the environment?


What Can We Do, Then?

Although planting trees prove to be beneficial in absorbing and cancelling out carbon dioxide emissions, we also have to find other ways we can reduce it. Here are some ways, both big and small (but can still make a difference), we can help:


Big Ways

  1. Find alternative sources of energy – as we may all know, fossil fuel emissions have been one of the root causes of increased carbon dioxide in the environment. From something as normal as driving a car, we release a lot of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. We can reduce fossil fuel emissions by utilising alternative energy, instead. Examples of alternative energy include solar, wind,  and tidal energy, to name a few. They produce energy without releasing harmful emissions into the air. Check out our blog on alternative energy to learn more.
  2. Reuse and reduce – the production process of many materials/products also causes carbon dioxide emissions. Even in recycling, certain amounts of carbon dioxide, albeit in lower amounts than the initial production, is produced, like in battery recycling. A much better way of countering this is to reduce and reuse more. Both reduce the possibility of emitting carbon dioxide into the air.


Small Ways

  1. Choose to walk, commute, or carpool – instead of using cars – which consumes oil, then emits carbon dioxide – try to walk to work, or any other destination, instead. This not only helps reduce carbon footprint but also helps in saving natural resources. You can also ride a bike if you have one. Additionally, you can also opt to take the public train going to work instead of using a vehicle. Another thing that is becoming popular is carpooling. This reduces your carbon footprint, although not as effective as the other options I stated.
  2. Influence other people – obviously, social media is the biggest platform nowadays in sharing your thoughts to the world. Why not use it to influence others to become more environmentally conscious? Share your thoughts; tell the social media users about the negative effects of carbon dioxide in the environment and how we can help reduce it (share this blog to them, too!).


Do Trees Absorb Carbon Dioxide: Conclusion


Trees do absorb carbon dioxide. That is already a well-known fact. But due to deforestation and too much emission of harmful greenhouse gases in the environment, forests don’t absorb enough carbon dioxide to help. On the contrary, they also contribute to emitting carbon (dying trees decomposing, therefore emitting carbon dioxide).

As a result, we must look for other alternatives to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


Waster: Things You Need To Know

As a commitment to the wider Australian society and environment, Waster has partnered with Greenfleet to help customers reduce their carbon footprint. Greenfleet is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to connecting people with real climate action.

When you book a waste or recycling service in the Waster online waste portal, you will be given the option of donating $4.02 to plant a native Australian tree through Greenfleet. Waster will match your donation and plant a tree as well! Simply tick the box on checkout – and we will take care of the rest.



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Also, please call 1300 WASTER (1300 927 837), or email us at [email protected] if you have any further questions.