Green Christmas: Oh Christmas tree

First off I wanted to let you know that I got most of my information from Live Green Twin Cities. All Direct quotes will be in Italics.

Lets start his off by saying I have a artificial Christmas tree. I bought it off Craigslist for $35.00 and saved it from a land field. A few branches are a little saggy but nothing a little thread won’t fix. Secondly I sold my little 6 ft artificial tree that I bought 7 years ago on Craigslist for $5.00. Here is my little tree from last year.

 So what is the green choice for a Christmast tree? I honestly didn’t know, until I did some research and then I have to admit I was a little surprised.

So lets get right too it “The short answer is: The real tree is the better choice for the environment. The long answer is, like most green decisions, it’s nuanced.”  As for the why that is a little more complicated.

Artificial Trees~ They seem like a good idea right? I thought so too, they are reused year after year and that part is great. However according to Accociated Content the average life span of an artificial tree is only 6 years. Wow I had mine for 7 and then sold it to someone else to use. Not to mention most trees are made out of PVC and manufactured in China or some other country equally as far away. Then they have to be shipped clear over here for sale. On top of all they can not be recycled  and they dont’ decompose. So if you want a fake tree here are the highlights.

  • Don’t buy new, search second hand stores, Craigslist, Freecycle and other resources for a used one. This will save you money too!
  • When your ready for a new tree sell yours dont’ throw it away.
  • If you have an artificial tree, keep using it till its dead.

Cut Christmas Trees~Depending on how and where they are grown these too can have a lot of negative impact. However most Christmas trees are grown on tree farms, not in the wild and after they are cut a new tree is immediately planted. This is a good thing. The good news is that most cities have a recycling (mulching) program offered for your Christmas trees and they are biodegradable. So if you want to go this route here are some hints:

  • Buy local
  • Ask about their farming practices
  • “recycle” your tree when your done
  • The best option would be to buy one with roots and plant it when your done.

So there you have it, what do you think?

5 comments on “Green Christmas: Oh Christmas tree

  1. I tended to think artificial trees were the green option too until I read about it last year. However, due to allergies I’m pretty much stuck with an artificial treas. I don’t mind though, the one I have came with lights already on it so all we have to do is put it together, put the ornaments on it and we are done! My sister and her husband were asking what we paid for our tree, they are thinking of getting artificial for next year, so I looked it up. I was surprised that we have been using it since Nov. 2004. It’s 6 years old and still works wonderful! I hope we get a lot more years out of it.

  2. My mom’s fake tree is going on 20 years and still doing alright. Now, the cats have managed to gnaw on some of the lower branches and all, but with 2000 lights and about 300 ornaments, no one is going to notice a few missing fake pine needles!

  3. Wow, interesting! I always thought that artificial trees were the greener option since you can reuse them. Who knew? We don’t buy Christmas trees since full size ones are readily available in Japan as it is in the US. The Ikea here does sell small ones the size of a small bush but we just don’t have the room to put one up. One great thing about getting a small tree from Ikea is that they offer to buy it back after Christmas as part of their recycling program. I think that’s a great incentive for people to bring their tree back, don’t you think?

  4. This is such a great post because you’re right – most people do think they are making a better choice by doing the artificial thing. The other thing is that people forget that the trees can be picked up and “recycled” its just a matter of a phone call to your local organization. It makes me sad when I see the trees in the dumpster. 🙁

    I’m gonna tweet this post!

    I’m now following you through the Green Blog Hop. I hope you’ll do the same! You can find me @

    Sofia’s Ideas

  5. I’m thinking that artificial trees today must be made cheaply and poorly. My parents bought an artificial tree when I was born, so it’s 25 years old now, and it still looks brand new! They never considered throwing it away, and now they are passing it on to me. I think, in our case, the artificial tree has been greener and more money-saving, since we haven’t bought a tree in over 2 decades. 🙂

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