Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Real or Fake Christmas Tree?

elfMany people struggle around this time with the question of what kind of tree to put in their living room. Real or fake? Both sides hold reasons why theirs is the more sustainable option. My first reaction to the idea of a real tree is negative due to the simple fact that it involves chopping down a living tree for the sake of decoration, but upon closer examination it becomes apparent that fake trees aren’t the greenest purchase either. Although artificial trees can be used and reused over and over, it’s what goes into the making of them that causes environmentalists to hesitate; they contain chemicals such as PVC and lead, and the plastic they are made of is a by-product of petroleum, a non renewable resource that creates carbon emissions. And while they can be reused, artificial trees can’t be recycled if you do decide to get rid of them.

All of these things drive me away from getting on the fake pine bandwagon, and yet the idea of putting axe to live wood still deters me from being a real tree person, even if these cut down trees are raised on a farm for that very purpose and are biodegradable. But in comparison, this does look like the greener option overall. Tree farms do replant every year, so in that way, real Christmas trees are a renewable resource. They’re also likely to be chemical-free and are always carbon-neutral. If you still don’t want to go there however, there may be a way to get around the hang-up in the form of replantable trees, which can be moved to the garden after Christmas and kept ready for next year, or donated to be planted somewhere else. This option seems to be the one that covers all the green bases, the most environmental way to go short of skipping a tree and getting by with other decor. For a list of where to look around Seattle for a living Christmas tree, you can take a look at this article.

What do you think of the real-or-fake tree debate? Which kind do you opt for?


Comments are closed.