How green is your Christmas Tree?

It's that time of year again when we are all starting to think about putting up Christmas decorations. As someone who has been “greening” my life I found myself wondering on how to do Christmas in a greener and more sustainable way. The main focus of my attention was the Christmas Tree, namely real vs fake.

 

My argument has always been that I'd rather leave the trees growing outside in the wider environment than seemingly butcher them and drag them in my house for a few weeks over Christmas for them to be dead by New Year.

 

In doing a bit of research though, I've discovered that actually having a real tree is much greener than a fake or plastic tree. It does seem rather counter-intuitive, but the reason for this is that fake trees are typically made of toxic man-made materials and require quite a demanding manufacturing process, in terms of the materials and energy used, as well as the emissions produced.

 

In comparison, real trees are completely natural and actually help to store carbon from the atmosphere as they grow. So then, I hear you ask, how useful are they once we've chopped them down? Well, as it turns out, (at least in the UK) Christmas trees are grown as crops, meaning that as they are harvested more are planted to replace them. What is more, if demand fro real trees increases, your one Christmas Tree that is harvested may be replaced by several new trees to keep up with growing demand. Similarly, real trees may also be harvested from responsibly managed forests and woodland, where certain trees are removed to allow light to the forest floor and to enable other wildlife to thrive.

 

The verdict then is a no-brainer; go for a real Christmas Tree. Just be sure that when purchasing your tree that it is sourced from commercial tree growers or alternatively from responsibly managed forests.