Dec 6 2010

Real or Fake?

I’m talking Christmas trees people, please!


Anyhow, the ongoing debate about real and fake Christmas trees is once again resurfacing. So, what’s better for the environment and our health?

Real of course!

I can see the appeal of a fake tree for sure. It’s a one time cost, no messy clean up, and in our case, no trips to the vet because your dog is eating the pine needles.

However, the last thing I want in my living room is a great big piece of toxic plastic, made from PVCs (petroleum-derived plastic). Not to mention that 80% of artificial trees are imported from China. I’m truly not trying to discriminate, but let’s face it, China’s track record with plastics is not exactly stellar. Many older artificial tress even contain lead!

Also, artificial trees cannot be recycled, which means they will sit in a landfill for thousands of years.

So what are the pros and cons of real trees?

There are about 500,000 acres of Christmas trees in production—each acre provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people!
Real trees can be recycled (“treecycling”), in fact 93% of trees are recycled across the country.

Maybe you feel guilty cutting down a tree just to have it sit in your living room for a few weeks. It should comfort you to know that for each tree harvested, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring, ensuring a healthy supply of trees.

According to the NCTA, the Christmas tree industry employs more than 100,000 Americans (another check in the pros column!).
There are some negative environmental impacts as well. All those trees do require a lot of effort to produce, and in some cases,
a lot of pesticides and herbicides. And in some climates in the US, trees must be shipped from thousands of miles away.

Bottom line, real is the way to go!

To find a recycling center in your area for your Christmas tree, check out Earth 911 for an easy search.

Merry, Merry!

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