O Fake Christmas Tree Of All The Trees Most Environmentally Friendly

As more and more people buy fake Christmas trees, there’s a growing debate as to what is more environmentally friendly, the fake tree or the real tree? The New York Times recently explored the question of which Christmas tree is more “green,” and you might be surprised by what they found.

It’s a question that’s more similar to choosing between burgers and fried chicken. While neither decision is particularly good; it’s more like choosing between the lesser of two evils. Have a look at some the pros and cons of both trees.

Why Should You Choose A REAL Christmas Tree:

  • Right now, there are approximately 400 million Christmas trees growing on tree farms in the US. All of these trees are scrubbing CO2 from the air and generating oxygen. Close to 30 million trees are harvested each year to decorate homes.
  • Plastic trees are just that, plastic. They contain PVC, the production of which generates cancer-causing byproducts. Your fake plastic trees are safe, however, it was most likely made in China. China doesn’t have the best record of disposing of those byproducts safely.
  • Artificial trees are not biodegradable, and centuries from now, archaeological digs will find old Christmas trees still occupying landfills.
  • Ellipsos released an independent study a couple of years ago found that real trees, over a typical 6-year lifespan, have a carbon footprint that is one-third the size of a fake tree.
  • Real trees smell nice. Who doesn’t want a house that smells like pine trees?

Why you should buy a FAKE tree:

  • Unlike fake trees, real ones need to be grown, which ties up acres of land occupied by giant Christmas tree farms and uses a lot of water.
  • The you have to get your tree from the farm to your house.  The American Christmas Tree Association did a study that found the biggest contribution to global warming in this whole debate came from trucking real trees from farms, to lots, to your home. Keep in mind, though, the American Christmas Tree Association is actually the trade organization behind artificial Christmas trees.
  • Real trees become an annual hassle to pick out, pick up, take home, water daily, and throw out. Fake trees are reusable for years. The ACTA’s study took into account the full life cycle of the tree, from sapling to the stand in your living room, and found that as long as you use an artificial tree for 10 years, it will be the greener option. An Indiana family, created a closet for their Christmas tree.
  • Real trees are fire hazards. They dry out fast if you don’t keep them watered. The US Fire Administration says that Christmas trees account for 250 home fires every year.
  • Real trees can also have critters. Don’t you remember the squirrel in the Griswold’s Christmas tree in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

Real or fake? You could successfully argue for both, but in the end, it’s what you want in your home.


One Comment

  1. Jill Sidebottom says:

    Tree farms don’t “tie up land.” They provide green space and habitat for wildlife. These farms are maintained in an early successional forest with young trees and plenty of ground covers. This provides habitat for ground birds such as turkey and quail, rodents which bring in predators such as hawks, foxes, and bobcats, and flowering plants that help feed butterflies and all manner of insects. That’s a pretty great way to “tie up land” if you ask me.
    And remember that fake “trees” catch on fire too — especially the pre-lit ones. We had a fire locally just a week ago that started with a fake “tree.”

  2. Lauren says:

    “The American Christmas Tree Association did a study that found the biggest contribution to global warming in this whole debate came from trucking real trees from farms, to lots, to your home.”

    What about shipping the plastic trees from China to the U.S.?? I’d say that is a heck of a lot more mileage than a local family going to a local Christmas tree farm that might be, at the most, 30 or so miles away. I’m pretty sure the trip from China has a MUCH larger carbon footprint! The ACTA’s study is one-sided and biased.

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