How fresh-cut Christmas trees are greener.
A few months ago, we posted on social media a picture of a blue spruce sapling with the caption “when I grow up I want to be a Christmas tree”. The backlash from this post took us by surprise. Why aren’t fresh-cut Christmas trees better? They are friendlier to the environment, aren’t they? While cutting down a tree may seem counterproductive in creating a greener environment, it’s the greener choice at Christmas.
Manufacturing: fresh-cut Christmas trees vs. fake trees.
You shouldn’t feel bad about cutting down a tree. We don’t cut Christmas trees down on a large scale from the forest. We grow them on farms just like crops. The farmland often isn’t usable for other crops. Plus, most farmers plant at least 1 seedling for every tree cut down.
It takes 8 to 12 years to raise a good-sized tree. As they mature, they are cleaning the air, drawing in and releasing carbon dioxide, and providing watersheds and habitat for wildlife. This slows climate change.
We make artificial trees of PVC and steel. The production of PVC and steel are significant contributors to greenhouse gases.
Transportation: fresh-cut trees vs. fake trees.
China is the main manufacturer of Christmas trees. The trees travel thousands of kilometers across land and sea to arrive at their destination. Throughout their journey, trucks and sea containers emit tonnes of pollutants into the air and water. In contrast, fresh-cut trees travel a shorter distance and it is easy to diminish the emissions from their journey. Cut down your own tree at a local tree farm.
You may not know it, but cutting down a tree has some advantages. It reduces the competition for light and nutrients. This allows the other trees growing near the opportunity to grow and clean the air. Thus maintaining a tree farm’s life cycle.
Disposal: fresh-cut trees vs. fake trees.
How you dispose of your tree is the difference. When you dispose of an actual tree in a landfill or burned it, carbon dioxide is released into the air. But only the carbon removed. So there’s zero net carbon loss. Meanwhile, a fake Christmas tree in a landfill seeps toxins into the environment for decades.
Carbon Balancing: fresh-cut trees vs. fake trees.
An artificial tree can balance its carbon footprint but takes up to 10 years of use. This misleads people into assuming that a fake tree is greener. In comparison, a fresh-cut tree is carbon neutral from the start.
However, actual trees can replace PVC and steel in your yard, reducing its footprint even further. Simply follow our 5 eco-friendly ways to dispose of your Christmas tree. This establishes the fresh-cut tree as the clear winner.
5 eco-friendly ways to dispose of your fresh-cut tree.
Try these 5 eco-friendly approaches to extend the life of your Christmas tree.
- Buy an actual tree, plant it in a pot, and reuse it for several years. Once it gets too large, plant it outside and enjoy it.
- Recycle your tree by chipping, mulching, or composting. Then use it to replace plastic mulch in your garden.
- Chop the wood and use it to replace fossil fuel as a heat source.
- Use it to protect your perennials during the winter.
- Chop your tree into disks and replace plastic landscaping edging.
Whichever type of Christmas tree you prefer, there is no better time to cut down your carbon footprint than now.
For more information on trees and seedlings, check out the TreeTime.ca blog.