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Living or Artificial: Which Christmas Tree is Less Harmful to the Environment

As the New Year approaches, there’s always a debate about which type of Christmas tree to put up – a real one or an artificial one.

Usually, the crux of the argument is something like this: some say that buying real trees harms the environment, while others disagree. So, where’s the happy medium?

A New Year Without Harming Yourself or Nature: Which Christmas Trees are the Most Eco-Friendly

Every year in December, social media erupts with debates over which Christmas tree is the most eco-friendly – real or artificial. There are no clear-cut answers to this question.

It all depends on the specific Christmas tree you choose, how it is transported, your plans for reusing it, and how you dispose of it.

Live Christmas Trees: Their Impact on the Environment

The Christmas trees we buy are grown in specialized forestry nurseries. The most important thing is to purchase your tree from official sellers who can provide all the necessary documentation.

It can take about 10 years for a Christmas tree to grow to a height of two meters (about 6.5 feet).

Throughout this time, the tree can serve as a home for wildlife, especially birds, and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. It produces oxygen and emits phytoncides, which are beneficial for our health – definitely a plus.

Remember, you shouldn’t just throw out live trees that have served their purpose in trash bins or on the street.

Environmentalists warn that as trees decompose, they release harmful substances into the atmosphere.

The proper way to dispose of a live Christmas tree is to take it to a special recycling point.

There, they’ll handle it appropriately: for example, they might turn it into wood chips, which can be used for creating ecological trails or as bedding for animals.

Many people opt for a real live Christmas tree grown in a container. But there are some downsides to this as well, because keeping a tree in a pot in apartment conditions is problematic, and not everyone has the option to plant it in open ground.

Artificial Christmas Trees: Impact on the Environment

Most artificial Christmas trees are made in China. They are manufactured from plastic, metal, and PVC, and their production involves burning fossil fuels.

After that, they’re shipped to us. Since they are made from mixed materials, they’re rarely recyclable.

A two-meter (about 6.5 feet) artificial plastic tree has a carbon footprint ten times larger than that of a real Christmas tree.

Estimates indicate that an artificial tree must be used between 7 to 20 times, depending on its weight and the materials used, for its environmental impact to be lower than that of a properly disposed real cut tree.

If you already have an artificial tree, keep using it. If you’re thinking about buying one, opt for a classic model so you’re less tempted to discard it when it goes out of style.

Use your tree for many years. Then, if possible, try to recycle it, or pass it on to someone else.

Overall, an artificial tree is more eco-friendly than natural ones only if it is used for about 20 years! Are you ready for such a long commitment?

If not, then buy live trees from the right places: at official Christmas tree markets, ensuring you ask for documentation on harvesting and transport. Also, don’t forget to properly recycle it at designated points.

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