We haven’t had a Christmas tree for years. I haven’t been able to justify cutting one down. This year, however we may get one, since one, the kids have been asking for one and two, my son’s school is selling them as a fundraiser. The kids haven’t actually been able to justify a tree at this point. In fact, the Christmas talks aren’t going all that well (long story).
But I digress. If you are planning on having a Christmas tree, there are more and less eco-friendly routes to choose. Here’s how the many choices stack up.
NOT AT ALL ECO-FRIENDLY: Buying an artificial Christmas tree that you only use for a few years. The vast majority of artificial Christmas trees are made with plastic and often PVC. Plus most of them are imported from China. That artificial tree earns you a double dose of problems – bad toxic materials and emissions.
NOT ECO-FRIENDLY: A Christmas tree purchased from a non-local farm or from out of state. Transporting trees miles to your area is not a good use of resources. A local tree is better.
NOT MUCH BETTER: Artificial trees you use for years and years (like ten years +). If you get a longer life out of your fake tree, it’s a much better deal for your wallet and the planet. Not by a lot though. You’ve still got a tree made with toxic plastic material, plus very few recycling centers will take artificial trees so that tree will eventually end up in a landfill forever.
KIND OF ECO-FRIENDLY: Buy your Christmas tree from a local farm. The farm should plant and harvest in a renewal cycle annually. I.e. they plant in the spring, harvest in the fall, and always have new trees growing. Extra points if you can find an organic Christmas tree farm. To make this choice even better, make sure to recycle your tree after Christmas.
PRETTY DARN ECO-FRIENDLY: Get a living Christmas tree from a local nursery. After the holidays plant it in your yard or in the community.
BEST CHOICE ON THE ECO-SCALE: While these choices may not be as much fun, in a traditional sense, they are the most eco-friendly choices you can make. Have no tree; decorate a standing tree on your property; make a homemade tree out of recycled paper or other goods. You can also choose a Christmas tree that is ultra unique and eco-friendly like one of the choices below…
PossibiliTree: This is a lovely wooden tree (available in 3 or 6 ft sizes). The trees are made by skilled woodworkers in the United States and assembled by a family company. Every tree is unique with its own color and grain pattern variations. PossibiliTrees are minimally processed and are are reusable, recyclable, and, with the exception of the metal rod and wire on the different models, are biodegradable. When possible, the trees are made with naturally fallen trees.
The Cardboard Christmas Tree – made in the USA from recycled cardboard. Comes with over 50 cardboard ornaments. The small Cardboard Christmas Tree is available in one size for 2010 (1ft) and two colors (kraft and white). The original Cardboard Christmas Tree is available in one size for 2010 (3ft) and one color (kraft). Your kids can paint this tree and decorate it as they see fit or you can leave it as is for a nice mod look.
The Totem Xmas Tree: This unusual take on the Christmas tree is fun for the whole family to set up together. The Xmas Tree includes an angel, a deer, peace doves, candles and decorations, and is topped with a star. Once Christmas is over, put all the pieces back in the box to rebuild a year later or invent all the un-Xmas trees you can think of while you wait. Made of recycled cardboard.
- How to care for a living Christmas tree.
- Replanting your living tree.
- Ten ways to recycle your Christmas tree.
- Where to recycle your Christmas tree.
- Make a paper Christmas tree – can be any size you like, depending on the amount of recycled paper you can dredge up.
- Plant your own Christmas tree – takes two to five years so get going!
What kind of Christmas tree are you getting this year?