Christmas trees are magical. They communicate many different messages to people around the world. The question is whether it makes a difference if the tree is real or artificial?
Most people will continue the holiday traditions they learned as young children. If you always had a live tree, chances are you want to share that tradition with your children, especially if it involves cutting down your own tree. It gets more interesting if one parent grew up with live trees while the other parent is used to an artificial tree. Do you reconsider the question each year?
Do Artificial Trees Help the Environment?
Christmas trees are a big part of our holiday traditions so here are some tips to help if you continue to debate the pros and cons of having live trees each year versus an artificial Christmas tree that lasts for years. There are benefits to both types of trees, i.e. the wonderful aroma of fresh pine versus no needles to clean up for artificial trees.
The more challenging question to answer is whether an artificial tree is better for the environment? Most Christmas trees are actually grown for the purpose of being Christmas trees. These trees are grown on Christmas tree farms rather than forests as we might envision. There are quite a few environmental benefits to using real Christmas trees instead of artificial trees:
- While Christmas trees are growing they soak up carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In contrast, when artificial trees are manufactured, the process gives off greenhouse gases.
- Christmas trees are a renewable resource when grown on tree farms as growers replace the trees, planting one to three seedlings for each tree harvested.
- Local municipalities often collect Christmas and recycle them into mulch. Artificial trees are not biodegradable so when they are thrown out, they can't be recycled.
- When you buy your Christmas tree locally, you are reducing the fuel and greenhouse gases used to bring the tree home. Most artificial Christmas trees are made in Asia and shipped to the US which takes fuel and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The best type of Christmas tree is a living tree which you can plant outside after the holidays. Buying a fresh tree is good for the environment, and it can be a fun family tradition picking out just the right tree. Good luck making the right decision for your family, and have a wonderful holiday season.