Real or Fake – Which Christmas Tree Is The Most Environmentally Friendly?
The holidays are a time to spread joy and love to those who you care for most. This Christmas season though, you may want to reevaluate how much love you show the environment. Choosing the right type of Christmas tree for your home can be a matter of convenience or affordability. But, we encourage you to think beyond just those factors and consider how your choice will effect the environment long-term.
To help demonstrate why a real Christmas tree outweighs its artificial counterpart, we’ve laid out a list of pros and cons:
Artificial Christmas Trees:
PRO: Real Christmas trees are around $70-$100 compared to about $40-$90 for an artificial tree which means you can save money over time by reusing an artificial tree. You can also save a bit on tree stands and string lights because those items are typically included with an artificial tree.
PRO: Convenience. Artificial trees don’t need constant watering or maintenance. This means pine needles and tree sap won’t litter your floors. Transportation is also a bit easier. Artificial trees are always wrapped up tight in a large cardboard box making it easy to transfer from the store to your home.
CON: Today’s artificial trees are made with metal and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is a non-biodegradable, plastic. Older artificial trees may even contain lead, which was used as a stabilizer during production. These trees are both non-biodegradable and non-recyclable which means they will just sit in landfills for ages once a family disposes of them.
CON: More than 80% of Christmas trees sold in the United States are imported from China, which only adds to their overall environmental impact.
Real Christmas Trees:
PRO: Over 90% of real Christmas trees sold each year are recycled through more than 4,000 available recycling programs. “Treecycling” is an easy way to return something as renewable and natural as a tree back to the environment. This keeps them out of landfills where they would decompose at a much slower rate. The recycled tree can be used for landscaping and gardening or as playground material and hiking trails/paths/walkways. They can even be used to aid in the prevention of beachfront erosion and as lake and river shoreline stabilization.
PRO: Just one farmed tree absorbs more than 1 ton of CO2 in its lifetime and produces enough oxygen for the daily needs of about 20 people. Introducing plants of any type (or size) into your home helps keep your air clean and breathable. We spend more than 80% of our time indoors so why not surround yourself with things that keep your mental and physical state well?
PRO: The Christmas tree industry employs over 100,000 every year so, by supporting real Christmas tree farms, you’re supporting those individuals who work there as well!
CON: These trees are farmed as agricultural products. This means pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers may be used during the growth of a tree you’re selecting. To avoid this issue, you can opt for organically grown trees that use more natural methods rather than harsh chemical treatments.
CON: In areas where pine tree do not typically grow, they are often imported which adds to their environmental impact. But, local transportation is far better than overseas transportation. As we’ve now explained, introducing a real Christmas tree into your home is a far better option for both your own personal health as well as the long-term health of the environment.