Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how green is your carbon footprint?
The question about the greenest Christmas tree has been one of considerable debate among environmentally conscious merrymakers for the past decade.
Both sides have made valid points: advocates of artificial trees take issue with the practice of cutting down trees in the name of festivity, whereas proponents of real trees argue that it's pretty much impossible for a plastic alternative to be green.
The research team at Ellipsos has provided a definitive answer. In its study, the real tree emerges victorious!
According to Ellipsos, the artificial tree has three times more impacts on climate change and resource depletion than the natural tree. That's assuming your artificial tree lasts six years. If your tree will last more than 20 years and if you'd have to drive a long way to buy a real tree, the opposite becomes true.
Regardless of whether you choose real or artificial, there are ways to make sure your evergreen is truly green:
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Real Christmas Trees
- Buy locally.
- Choose trees from farms that minimize (or do without) pesticides and herbicides.
- Cut your own with a provincial permit, from lands that must be kept clear anyway. In many provinces, hydro right-of-ways have to be kept clear. This is a win-win way to meet that mandate.
Artificial Christmas Trees
- Avoid PVCs — the grinchiest of plastics — that most artificial trees are made of. Not only are these hard on the environment, they're bad for your health.
- Make it last 20 years!
Should neither of these options live up to your desire for a truly sustainable celebration, consider a living Christmas tree. Potted evergreens are just as festive as their cut counterparts! And the recent appearance of rental companies dealing in potted evergreens makes this a hassle-free option even for folks who forgot to dig their tree a hole before the ground froze!