What’s more harmful for the environment, buying real Christmas trees each year, or buying a fake one from the store?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is actually a pretty tricky question, and it depends a lot on where you get your tree from and what you plan on doing with it come January.  The obvious advantage of a fake tree is that it can be used again for years, and there’s only a set amount of damage it can do in that time.  But there is some debate over just how many years.  Sure, if you plan on keeping it around for the next twenty, then that might be a good investment, but some argue that fake trees are only good for about five years or less.  At any rate, no matter how long it’s in use, eventually it’s going to be trashed, and unlike a real tree, it’s not compostable.  It’s also important to remember that fake trees are more likely to come from far away, so you have to factor transportation into your cost/benefit analysis as well.  So, despite the five to twenty trees you might save from being chopped down, you might not actually be doing that much good.  As for live trees, the advantages are that they’re natural (you know, aside from all those unnatural chemicals they’re treated with) and compostable, they’re usually local, while they’re alive they contribute to the improvement of air quality, and the farmers you buy your tree from will plant a new tree in its stead.  And of course you can always shop around for an organic tree.  The down side is that they are farmed.  Whether it’s organic or not, if you’re buying a tree, you’re buying from a farm, which means that the environment that tree was grown in has been altered to sustain only one, or maybe a handful of, tree species.  Bearing all this in mind, it’s likely that buying an organic tree is ultimately the best option.  While acres upon acres of land covered with nothing but four- to six-foot tall conifers isn’t exactly ideal, it’s probably better than keeping something toxic in your house for years and then having it carted off to a landfill.

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