The debate may be settled when it comes to which tree (a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree) is better for the environment.
Although it may still be a bit early to buy a real Christmas tree, some artificial Christmas trees have been taking up residence in living rooms across the country since mid-November. And every year there seems to be tension between the real-tree advocates and the fake-tree supporters—both claim that their version has less of an environmental impact. So who’s right?
Finally, the debate may be settled when it comes to which tree (a real Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree) is better for the environment, according to various environmental organizations and studies.
Those in favour of artificial trees claim that they last for years (compared to real trees which need to be repurchased every year) and don’t require cutting down living trees.
But real-tree advocates argue that plastic trees are made with chemicals, and while they’re alive, Christmas trees actually help the environment.
The verdict is in
And real Christmas trees win! This is partially because over the course of their pre-decorative life, natural Christmas trees do good for the earth (such as helping air quality), whereas artificial trees do not have any positive impact.
Natural trees also deplete fewer natural resources. Artificial Christmas trees, on the other hand, are shipped from overseas and made from PVC plastic, which is a non-renewable petroleum plastic and not at all green.
In regards to their impact on climate change, an artificial tree would have to be kept for 20 years before becoming better than a natural tree. However, artificial trees have further problems: PVC plastic (#3 plastic) is harmful to the environment and to one’s health, especially during production. They may also shed dust that contains lead, a known neurotoxin.
Yes, Christmas trees are often heavily sprayed, but you can purchase a Christmas tree grown without pesticides.
Better yet …
Don’t buy a tree at all, use a potted plant you already have, or buy a living Christmas tree you can plant afterwards.