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The Green Life: The Great Christmas Tree Debate

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December 16, 2009

The Great Christmas Tree Debate

Christmastree Christmas is just over a week away. Have you gotten your tree yet? If not, which option is greener: artificial or real trees? If you’re working to minimize your carbon footprint this Christmas, consider both the pluses and minuses for both options.
The National Christmas Tree Association vows that fake trees are worse than real trees. Real trees are now grown on farms so there is less deforestation and use of pesticides and chemicals are controlled on these farms. The association also argues that fake trees are often made in China with harmful plastics that are non-recyclable, while real trees are usually picked up and recycled into mulch.

On the other hand, artificial trees tend to cost less in the long run because many of them come with lights and stands meaning you don’t have to keep buying lights and decorations each year. Real trees require a stand, skirt, decorations, and regular watering. All these items can add up in the end. Not to mention, with an artificial trees you won’t be cutting down a real tree each year. You can keep the plastic tree for years, minimizing the driving done to pick up a real tree as well.

To minimize your carbon imprint, consider buying plastic trees from a U.S. company such as those found on Christmas Depot.com. For real trees, check out your local and organic tree farms.

You might also want to consider purchasing a live potted Christmas tree. You can keep it in your yard and continue to water it. Some companies, such Evergrow Christmas Trees in Canada, let you rent the tree and return it later. You also might find these potted trees at your local nursery or farmer’s market.

So when it comes to which kind of tree you want, use your best judgment. More information and tips can be found at The Daily Green. TreeHugger also breaks down the total carbon emissions for both choices.

--Julie Littman

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