Which is greener - real or artificial Christmas trees? The debate goes on...
It used to be pretty clear-cut: real evergreens were never green! Thinking we were being eco-friendly, we bought faux firs to avoid chopping down real trees. But the evidence seems to say chop away!
A few fir facts:
• Some 33 million real Christmas trees are sold in North America each year, according to the U.S. EPA. About 93 percent of those trees are ground into mulch through recycling programs.• Christmas tree farms grow trees for that purpose, so we're not depleting forests when we buy Christmas trees. Also these farms plant two or three seedlings for every tree sold.
• Fake trees are made with metal and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a non-biodegradable and petroleum-derived plastic that produces carcinogens during manufacture and disposal. Many older trees may even contain lead, which was once used as a stabilizer during manufacture.
• About 85 percent of artificial trees sold here are imported from China, which adds significantly to their environmental footprint.
So, it seems clear that if you have no tree and want to buy one, a freshly cut tree is the greener option. However, if you already own a fake tree, continuing to use that tree makes green sense. You’re postponing its destiny in the landfill and saving gas you would have used to buy a real tree.
Are you for real? Or faux? Leave a comment!
I know what you’re thinking why do we have to choose between real and fake Christmas trees, anyway?
We don’t! We can avoid that entire debate:
â€¢ Get a potted tree, such as a Norfolk Island pine. I got one each year when I lived in an apartment and real cut trees weren’t allowed. They don’t smell like a Christmas tree, and you can’t load them up with lights and heavy ornaments, but they are real and they’re evergreens. I could never get them to survive much beyond the holidays, though
â€¢ Get a real uncut evergreen tree and plant it outside after Christmas. For some how-to tips, click here.
Or you could create the “sense of a tree” in your home. Check out my next blog for some ideas on thinking outside the boxwood.
Judy DiForte is a professional organizer with The Betty Brigade, a relocation, organizing and event planning company based in Ann Arbor. She welcomes your comments. Also you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our newsletter archive here.