Living or Artificial Christmas Tree?

We are in December! This month is always about preparing for holidays, for Christmas and New Year. One of a greatest symbols and surely the most important is the Christmas tree. However, in this age when we are all asked to be aware of the impact we are having on the environment, it is not quite easy to decide what to  purchase, a real living tree or an artificial tree and use it year after year.

If you want a long-term solution , considering a matter of a Christmas tree,  artificial trees seem to be a good decision. Moreover,  the latest generation of plastic trees do not look that fake. Until you get close, you can not easily distinguish the artificial tree from the real one, except for the missing fresh pine smell. Economically, artificial trees can also be a cheaper solution. You can buy an artificial tree for the cost of a single large live tree,  and it will last for several seasons. However, despite those facts that artificial trees look the same as living trees, that are less expensive and can be used for many years, purchasing a plastic tree is maybe not the best option. They are manufactured using a polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is a petroleum-derived plastic. The raw material  is both non-renewable and polluting and furthermore, PVC production results in the unhealthy emission of a number of carcinogens, such as dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride.

On the other hand, a real tree is actually the greener choice. One can mention that there are some components of the Christmas tree industry that are not quite as green. The trees need  maintenance over a period of 8 to 10 years- after that are harvested. Some Christmas tree farms use pesticides and chemicals to speed growth. And chopping down a living tree is not an environmentally-friendly activity, is it? Fortunately, the good news is that while those trees are growing they help to absorb the carbon dioxide that is produced by industries.  Also, those farms that produce Christmas trees are placed in areas that would otherwise be unusable. Because of their hardiness, Christmas trees can be planted on barren slopes where few other plants successfully grow, as well as fill in areas under power lines. It is important that each tree that is cut down must be replaced. Thus, many tree farms plant even up to 3 new trees for every one that is cut down in order to to maintain a constant supply. Now we can relax realizing that the tree population is not reduced due to Christmas tree farming. Actually it is maintained, protected, and in many cases increased.


To sum up, it is important to look at the environmental difference between the two options. Although artificial trees can last for years, they are not biodegradable and cannot be recycled. But, when the holidays are over a real tree can be recycled. Even, they can be used as compost and help nurture and protect the next generation of trees. Enjoy the preparation for the coming holidays!


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