Christmas Trees: Real or Artificial

Growing up we always had a live Christmas tree. Thinking back on it, everyone in my family had fresh cut Christmas trees. For us it was more about tradition rather than the environment. My family will continue to get live trees but the scientist in me wonders which type of tree is better for the environment.

 A recent post in Simple Organic  makes a case for live trees over artificial.

 Artificial Trees 

  • They won’t biodegrade
  • Most artificial trees are manufactured with PVC, a plastic that releases toxins.
  • They are usually made overseas and shipped great distances, therefore creating a huge carbon footprint
  • An artificial tree can be re-used for many years
  • More affordable than live trees

Fresh Cut Trees

  • Christmas tree farms generally practice sustainable farming methods. (Some have even become organic farms)
  • After the holidays, they can be recycled into mulch and compost
  • Grown in USA and buying cut trees boosts local economies
  • Require maintenance (watering and clean-up of needles)
  • Difficult to transport

To me, the type of Christmas tree you choose is a matter of tradition and functionality…and is not really reflective on how “environmentally friendly” you are.  What are your thoughts?


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