artificial christmas tree
Photo: Andy Melton

When you think about it, the act of displaying a tree indoors is strange tradition, and every year we engage in the debate of whether a real or artificial tree is more eco-friendly.

There are many reports of artificial Christmas trees going up in flames and, as a result, being recalled due to fire and shock risks.

With problems like this still occurring, you’ve got to wonder whether real trees should just be made the standard.

For a lot of us, the decision to buy a Christmas tree comes down to our own enjoyment and festive spirit. Plus, the guilt associated with cutting down a real tree is what drives the decision to go artificial for many.

Factor in the added convenience, low cost and reusability and you can see why artificial trees are so popular.

However, if you’re willing to look at the facts a little closer, chopping down a real tree can actually be more beneficial to the environment. They are primarily grown on farms, and any tree that’s cut down will have another growing in its place to minimize deforestation.

While the tree is alive, it is absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and creating oxygen. An artificial tree on the other hand, is usually made from PVC plastics that are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable. Factories will produce pollution creating them and they’ll sit in landfills for years and years once they are deemed unusable.

Artificial trees will save you money in the long run if you intend to use it every season. You won’t have to purchase a replacement tree each Christmas and you can use the same decorations.

Instead of throwing away the real tree, you can ‘treecycle’ it and extend its usability. This means that it can be used for mulch, habitat creation or erosion protection.

This article originally published December, 2012.

When you think about it, the act of displaying a tree indoors is strange tradition, and every year we engage in the debate of whether a real or artificial tree is more eco-friendly. In was reported in a story on The Republic that an American retailer has to recall 1,800 artificial Christmas trees due to fire and shock risks. With problems like this still occurring, you’ve got to wonder whether real trees should just be made the standard.