Green Living QA: A Real Christmas Tree or a Fake Christmas Tree?
12/20/2012 | 05:30 PM
What's better for the environment? A real Christmas tree or a fake Christmas tree?
The answer to this isn't so clear cut (pardon the pun!). There are pros and cons to buying both. Real trees are better because they are all natural and can be recycled into wood chips, but fake trees can be a better choice because they're used for many years.
Here are some things to consider:
- The majority of real Christmas trees require repeated applications of pesticides which can pollute local watersheds while they are growing and again when they are discarded.
- The majority of fake trees are produced in China (think of the fuel used for shipping to the US) and are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a toxic, non-renewable, petroleum-derived plastic. Fake trees also contain lead and other additives which have been linked to liver, kidney, neurological and reproductive system damage in lab studies on animals. Healthy Child Healthy World [http://healthychild.org/live-healthy/checklist/enjoy_healthy_holidays/] warns that fake trees contain lead-laced dust which cover branches and can get on the gifts and the floor below the tree.
- Before you buy a tree, whether real or fake, learn where it comes from, and how it was grown or made.
- If you choose a fake tree, try a secondhand one..the environmental toll has already been taken.
- If you choose a real tree, look for a local tree farm that use sustainable or organic growing practices. LocalHarvest.org [http://www.localharvest.org/] is a good informational source.
- Make your own tree using trimmed evergreen boughs and branches, or a piece of driftwood that you decorate.
- Buy a live tree with its roots intact from a local grower, and then replant it in your yard or donate to someone else's yard once the holiday season is over.
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