The Christmas tree debate… real or fake?

I wondered if I had done something really wrong by cutting down my Christmas tree yesterday and decided to find out the truth, which is more eco-friendly, fake trees or real trees? And I was pleasantly surprised by what I found out.

Artificial trees have come a long way and do look more and more real every year, they have come a long way from when they were manufactured by a toilet brush company.  The only thing really missing is that beautiful pine tree smell.

Artificial trees are also cheaper when reused every year opposed to dishing out 50 bucks every year for a real one.  But there are some major drawbacks to that artificial tree, ones you may not have noticed.

Even though getting that chainsaw out seems to be the less environmentally friendly choice, it turns out it may be the greener choice.  Even though a tree is being cut down, it did provide years of carbon dioxide absorption rather than its fake counterpart which most likely released many chemicals into the air while being made, and most tree farms plant two or more trees to replace the one they cut down.

Real trees are natural, although some farmers use pesticides and fertilizers (buying organic is better).  Artificial trees are made from polyvinyl chloride or better known as PVC.  It is a non-renewable and a polluting material.  To make the PVC needles for a fake tree, manufacturers sometimes use lead and other additives that have been linked to many reproductive system damage in animals such as liver, kidney and neurological damage.  Some trees come with warning labels due to their lead content.  Not something I would want my cats playing under, never mind my nieces and nephews.

The disposing of the trees is also a huge factor on which tree to purchase.  A real tree can be recycled into woodchips and mulch; it is also 100% biodegradable, while the artificial tree is not biodegradable and is not recyclable.  It will permanently remain in the landfill FOREVER.

So from an environmental perspective the real tree is definitely the winner.  Financially yes that fake tree will bring you artificial joy for years to come but will forever pollute our planet.  So my advice to you is to visit your local tree farm, pick out that masterpiece nature has provided just for you and although somewhat painful, put those LED lights on, have some eggnog and temporarily enjoy the smell of a forest in your home.

National Christmas Tree Association – for some fun facts!

By: Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

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