I live in Oregon where we’re surrounded by evergreens and breathe in pine-scented air on a daily basis. Every Christmas I’ve had a real tree, some of which we tromped out into the woods to find and others that we’ve picked out at our local tree farms. It has always seemed like a normal part of the holidays to have a real tree, so I was shocked to hear others touting the eco-benefits of plastic holiday trees. Say it isn’t so!
Still, it’s good to consider the plastic vs. real debate and then think beyond it. There’s certain to be a tree that will fit your budget and your green values.
Pros of Real Trees
- A fabulous woody scent
- Real trees absorb carbon for the time that they’re alive
- They can be composted or shredded into mulch (Available here but maybe not in other cities)
- More natural than artificial trees
- Don’t need to be stored year to year
Cons of Real Trees
- Must be replaced each year
- Sometimes have to be shipped across country when local trees aren’t available
- Often raised using pesticides
- If tossed into landfills, can take years to decompose
- Fire danger
- Messier than artificial trees
Pros of artificial trees
- Can be reused for several years
- Cost less money over the long run
- Are less messy than real trees
- Don’t require a trip out to purchase a tree each year
Cons of artificial trees
- Have plastic smell, or no smell whatsoever
- Most are made in China and have to be shipped to the U.S.
- Contain PVC, a material that pollutes during production and releases toxins
- Have been known to contain lead
- Will take centuries to break down in landfills
- Have to be stored every year
- Decorate a tree outside your home
- Plant a pine sapling in a large container and use it for several years. When it gets too big, transplant it outside and start another one.
- Be creative with a branch or a bunch of cuttings.
- Use beer bottles! O.K. This photo is ridiculous and very UN-baby-proof, but it’s nice to know that people can think outside the box.
If you celebrate Christmas, what sort of tree are you using this year? Did you find a way to make it eco-friendlier? Thanks for sharing your input—and for joining us this Thrifty Green Thursday! Please visit our amazing bloggers below and jump right in if you have a frugal, eco-friendly post to share.