Real Christmas Trees – As Green as it Gets.

A real tree displayed in a Christmas tree stand offers a naturally fragrant and safe way to celebrate the holidays.  Did you know that it is also the unequivocal best choice for the environment?  By almost every measure, a natural tree is “greener” than a fake tree.  Real trees are plantation farmed in North America.  Some people have the mistaken belief that wild trees from the forest are being cut for Christmas trees.  Nowadays, almost all real trees are grown on plantations much the way flowers are grown to be cut.  Tree plantations actually help to maintain the natural eco systems as well as being an enormous carbon sink and producer of oxygen.  Right now almost 450 million trees are growing on tree farms in the United States.  The carbon dioxide absorbed by these trees exceeds 5,000,000,000 (that’s five billion) pounds of carbon dioxide every year.   That is the equivalent of taking almost 400,000 cars off the road.  On top of that, real trees are chemical free and can easily be recycled or composted at the end of the season.  Unlike fake trees, they are a renewable resource. .  It does not get much greener than that.

Let’s examine fake trees.  Artificial trees are made from petroleum products including Poly Vinyl Chloride, a know pollutant.  So much lead is produced in the process, that many artificial trees are required by the State if California to carry a warning label about their lead content.  They require a great deal of energy in their production and transportation from overseas.  The worst part is that are totally not recyclable.  Fake trees end up in landfills for eons.

Finally, a real tree, kept well watered in a sturdy Christmas tree stand (such as Santa’s Last Stand )is a far safer alternative.  A fresh cut tree that is maintained in water is very slow to burn and easily extinguished.  A fake tree on the other hand burns hot and toxic and can be almost impossible to extinguish,  (see the National Christmas Tree Association for more information).

Enjoy a safe and green Christmas with a real tree.

Each holiday season, there are news articles, web sites and commentators who debate whether it is better for the environment to use an artificial Christmas tree or a natural Christmas tree. This can often be confusing to consumers who want to make an eco-friendly choice, but can’t find a simple, straight-forward “apples to apples” comparison. The table below illustrates that Real Christmas Trees are the best environmental choice.

Real Trees

Artificial Trees

  • United States & Canada
  • 85% from China
  • farming
  • factory
  • planting takes place Jan-May
  • raw materials sent to factory & assembled into final product
  • estimated 40-45 million trees planted in 2008 in North America
  • product is shipped to U.S. then distributed to stores
  • estimated 446 million trees growing on farms in U.S.
  • number of factories unknown
  • tree farms support complex eco-systems
  • factories only consume natural resources
  • plant tissue
  • plastics and metals
  • 100% biodegradable
  • non-biodegradable
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
  • No (lead is used in the process of making PVC plastic)
  • Yes
  • No
  • trees absorb carbon dioxide
  • plastic is a petroleum byproduct
  • when decomposing, carbon, nitrogen and other elements are released into soil
  • No
  • Yes
  • Scientists have measured cut Christmas trees for chemical residue and not found any significant amounts
  • PVC itself is a dangerous chemical
  • Many different bugs, fungi and parasites can attack and kill trees, so farmers may use pesticides to keep consumers’ trees healthy and alive until harvest
  • Manufacture of PVC creates and disperses dioxins, the most toxic man-made chemical known
  • Most pesticides are ground applied
  • Released into air or water, dioxins enter the food chain, where they accumulate in fatty tissues of animals and humans, a potential risk for causing cancer, damaging immune functions and impairing children’s development
  • Herbicides are used to suppress, not kill off, weeds to prevent soil erosion
  • If someone tells you “there are chemicals on cut Christmas trees” they are wrong
  • Recycled
  • Landfill
  • Used trees can be recycled in a variety of ways
  • Fake trees can’t be recycled and end up in landfills
  • Decomposing trees add nutrients back into the earth
  • All of the accumulated fake trees are a burden to the environment indefinitely
  • Yes
  • No
  • New trees are planted every year
  • Petroleum, used to make plastic, is a non-renewable resource
  • Yes
  • No