Real Christmas tree or a fake Christmas tree: this is the most eco-friendly choice
Owner and founder of Little Saps, Carrie, comes from a family of Christmas tree farmers. Every year people wonder what is more environmental friendly: a real or a fake tree? If you are concerned about the environment, go green with a real Christmas tree. It’s the best and most sustainable Christmas tree choice. There, we’ve said it. How do we know? Allow us to explain.
We care about our land
Like many small farmers, we live on the land we farm and so we are connected to it in a unique way. We care about being responsible stewards of our land as well as the health and well being of all those who work with us and live around us. We honor our land, our Hart-T-Tree Farms family, and our broader community by using reasonable farming practices and an integrated pest management system.
How Green are Christmas Trees?
We know that Christmas trees are green, but are they eco-friendly? It’s a debate that continues season after season. The short answer is yes, compared to an artificial tree, a real Christmas tree is more eco-friendly. How did we arrive at that conclusion? Read the articles below to discover more about real Christmas trees.
First, however, let’s put the issue in perspective. Your choice of Christmas tree is not going to have a significant environmental impact. If you are really concerned about the environment, consider making more earth-friendly choices in your daily routine – like riding a bicycle to work, turning the water off while brushing your teeth, or using a reusable shopping bag. Doing those things, even over a couple of days, will have a greater impact on the environment than your choice of Christmas tree.
But back to the question: How Green are Christmas Trees?
The Great Christmas Tree Debate: Real vs. Artificial?
There are a number of reasons why an individual or family might choose a real tree or an artificial tree for Christmas, but if your choice is based on which tree is more earth-friendly, environmentalists across the nation have come to a fairly clear-cut consensus: real is better.
There are several reasons that a real tree is more eco-friendly than an artificial tree, but the primary reason is because an artificial tree is non-biodegradable. Most artificial trees are made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic that will sit in landfills forever. Also, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, when produced or burned, artificial trees release dioxins that can cause liver cancer and developmental problems.
According to a Life Cycle Assessment conducted in 2009 by Ellipsos (a consulting firm in Montreal that specializes in sustainable development) that compared the environmental impact of a real (or natural) tree vs. an artificial tree, artificial trees have a greater overall impact on climate change. The carbon emissions used in the production and transport of artificial trees are greater than the carbon emissions used in the production and transport of real trees. Interestingly enough, the study also noted that “Carpooling or biking to work only one to three weeks per year would offset the carbon emissions from both types of Christmas trees.”
What about the impact of a real, farmed Christmas tree on the surrounding eco-system? All factors considered, if farmers practice integrated pest management farming methods and keep pesticide use to a minimum, Christmas trees can have a positive impact on the environment.
We are of course happy to answer any questions you might have on this topic. For more information about real vs. artificial, check out these articles and studies:
“The Environmental Choice” by the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association
“Planting an Idea: Choosing a Real vs Artificial Christmas Tree” by Madeleine Somerville on Earth911 (December 2014)
“How Green Is Your Artificial Tree? You Might be Surprised” by John Collins Rudolf in The New York Times (December 2010)
“Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees” by Lori Brown in Earth911 (November 2010)
“Green Myths Debunked: Product: O Christmas Tree” from CNN Money (March 2010)
“Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Artificial vs. Natural Christmas Tree” from Ellipsos (February 2009)
“How to Have a Green Christmas” by Karen Springen in Newsweek (November 2007)
We wish you a Merry Christmas and lots of joy from your tree!