There has always been some confusion about whether reusing an artificial Christmas tree is the environmentally ethical thing to do. Should we really cut down trees, many wonder, when we spend the rest of the year going green? According to the National Christmas Tree Association, you absolutely should. There are some important reasons you should forget plastic trees and keep it real (besides the wonderful fresh pine smell!).
- Almost all Christmas tree farms are small, family-owned businesses. Besides bolstering the local economy, supporting Christmas tree farms allows these local neighbors to make a profit on land in urban areas that wouldn’t otherwise be profitable as farmland at all.
- Keeping that farmland around provides much needed green space in cities where pressure to develop is intense. The evergreen trees are grown just for the holiday season and replenished every year, so they are constantly providing oxygen for us, a place to live for birds and animals, and nutrients for the soil.
- Natural trees are 100% recyclable! Trees that we cut down are delivered right back to the Earth. Free curb-side recycling in New York City turns trees into compost. Other free services offered by parks can turn the trees into mulch that goes back into the soil.
- It takes artificial trees centuries to break down. Even if we keep an artificial tree for 10 or 20 years, it eventually ends up in a landfill.
- Artificial trees are primarily produced in Asia out of petroleum-based plastic. Tons of carbon emissions result from manufacturing the millions of plastic Christmas trees America buys every year and that money supports the environmentally hazardous factories overseas rather than our local family farmers.
- Most fake trees also contain polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which produces carcinogens during manufacturing and disposal that are quite harmful to us and the environment.
- The hassle of cleaning up pine needles is a big incentive for people to opt for plastic trees. Keep the mess to a minimum by surrounding your tree in a large skirt that will catch most needles. Make a hole in a large garbage bag for the trunk and then pull it up and over your tree when you’re ready to remove it from your house. And for the pine needles that still find their way onto the carpet, use a rubber broom to quickly and efficiently sweep them up.
- It’s easy to find a Christmas tree farm near you! Just log onto realchristmastrees.org and use their map.
- Cutting down a Christmas tree is an awesome experience for you and your loved ones. The Christmas tree locator can also help you find a farm that provides sleigh rides and other fun activities for kids. Make some magical memories!