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Real or Artificial? 
28th-Nov-2011 03:11 pm
Homer Xmas
I've noticed a lot of conflicting information being distributed about whether it's more environmentally friendly to have a real Christmas tree or an artificial one.

The pros and cons of a live tree are listed as follows:

Can be chipped into mulch, compost, or wood chips
Wood can be repurposed to make fences or for use in building
Christmas trees trap more carbon dioxide than other tree forests
Smell terrific
Can buy or rent a living tree, which is planted after the holiday

Very few truly organic trees exist
Trees can be loaded with pesticides
Trees might be trucked across the country, adding to fuel costs
Need to be watered regularly
Shed needles that will need to be cleaned up
You will need to organize how you recycle your tree after its use and likely transport it yourself
Not every community provides recycling options

The pros and cons of an artificial tree are said to be the following:

Can be used year after year
Less expensive
Don't dry out
Good for urban dwellers
Can be put up earlier in the season

Made mostly of plastics and metals, including lead, that are not biodegradable
Often shipped long distances, as most are made in China
Need to be stored every year
Not as aesthetically pleasing

So, leaving aside the obvious answer of "neither", which do you think is a better choice for the environment?

Poll #1798976 Christmas Tree

As between these two options, which is more environmentally friendly?

A real Christmas tree
An artificial Christmas tree?
I'm not sure
29th-Nov-2011 12:37 am (UTC)
Not to do with the environmental factor at all, but real trees smell AWFUL. Plus, my whole family is allergic to them. Being forced into a tree sale fundraiser in high school was horrible, let me tell you.
29th-Nov-2011 01:09 am (UTC)
I think it really depends on where you live. One of the issues, according to your list, is for example the fuel used to transport the real trees, which isn't that much of an issue if you live in a tiny country where these sort of trees grows all over the place. Most people here buy trees in their local area, and where I grew up everyone cut their own tree - and I grew up in a quite big city close to the capital, so I doubt it was that uncommon the further you got away from the big cities/close to the country side.

And in general: while the idea of an artificial tree might seem the most eco friendly due to how it can be used again and again and again, the fact that many of them have parts, which aren't biodegradable is something I would consider a huge problem.
29th-Nov-2011 02:13 am (UTC)
I have this small led lighted fake tree that we've had for like three years now. Love it.

29th-Nov-2011 04:49 am (UTC)
I came across this tree recently . . it's small and weird looking, but it does seem to be even more environmentally friendly than the usual artificial ones if you read the blurb below:

And if you have a lot of Facebook friends, you may be able to get one for free too: http://www.facebook.com/cascades.boutique?sk=app_155220281221025
29th-Nov-2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
My parents have often bought a live tree, planted it, and then topped it when it needed to be cut down later in it's life. I think that is the best way to go if you have the resources! Of course, I opt for no tree at all and find other creative ways to decorate our small space.
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