Christmas Trees - Which are greener?

Christmas Trees - Which are greener?

I can never get bored with the festivities around Christmas, the sparkles, the lights, the trees and I even like the Christmas songs that you get bombarded with during the whole December month! 

The festive season brings a lot of joy, and a well decorated Christmas in the house always brings a smile on my face.

Having bought and discarded many trees over the years, I began to wonder how much environmental impact that causes and if there are alternatives out there that can achieve equally stunning results with less harm to the environment. 

Another holiday switch I have made recently is to stop using single-use gift wrapping paper. Astonishingly 540k tonnes of wrapping papers end up in landfill each year in Canada. Changing this small aspect of the gift-giving can make a huge difference. We have some great reusable options you can consider here.

Big picture, the overall environmental impact of buying a Christmas tree is minimal compared to flying or driving a few hours to spend the time with family and friends. But most of us would find it hard to compromise on the family gathering. After all, a Christmas without the family is just not the same. 

Are real Christmas Trees bad for the environment?

If you bought a real Christmas tree that is grown sustainably locally, and dispose of it responsibly then there is really quite a minimal impact on the environment. If a Christmas trees are farmed responsibly, the grower would have planted new trees for every one they chop down. 

The main environmental impact from the real trees can come from the following:

  • if the trees are not farmed responsibly, they can displace natural ecosystems, not to mention the extensive use of pesticides during the farming process. 
  • if your trees are not locally grown, then getting it to your home, whether it's by car, lorry or even on a plane, then its carbon footprint will be substantial.
  • when real trees are disposed of at landfill sites, they can produce methane and carbon dioxide - both greenhouse gasses which are harmful for the environment.

When real trees are disposed of at landfill sites, they can produce methane and carbon dioxide - both greenhouse gasses which are harmful for the environment. So you must make sure your household disposes of your real tree responsibly.

However, where your tree comes from matters. If you buy a real Christmas tree that is not locally grown, then getting it to your home, whether it's by car, lorry or even on a plane, then its carbon footprint will be substantial.

Are artificial Christmas Trees bad for the environment?

Manufacturing of artificial trees depletes nature resources and generates greenhouse gas emission. Additionally many of these trees are produced in lower costs countries like China, therefore there is additional impact associated with transporting these.

Naturally one would assume the artificial trees are worse than the real ones. It is true that a real tree generates fewer greenhouse gas emission per Christmas than a fake one, but that changes if you keep your artificial trees for longer. Besides, there are other reasons you may have a fake tree, such as pets, as pine needles are often a health hazard to dogs and cats if swallowed. To minimize the carbon impacts, studies say you should keep the same artificial trees for at least 8 years, and preferably more than 20 years! Additionally many fake trees are made of certain plastics which are not easy to recycle, so it's best to reuse it for as many years as possible.

DIY Eco friendly Christmas Tree 

Alternatively, there are some really stunning Christmas trees one can make with what you have at home! Below I have listed some of the best eco Christmas Trees I have seen online.

Christmas Trees made with books

Everyone has books lying around in the house. You can use these to make a big tree or small tree depending on how many you have around.

christmas tree using books
Christmas Trees using vintage books
small christmas trees with books
small Christmas Tree made with open books

Christmas Trees made with step-ladder

This is another great idea for using something you have already in the house. 

ladder christmas tree 1

 

ladder christmas tree 2
ladder Christmas Trees 3

Now you can make an informed decision on what is the best Christmas trees for you and your home.

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