Real vs Fake: The Christmas Tree Debate
December is here and it is most definitely time to get into the festive spirit! As the countdown to Christmas begins, many of us will be filling our homes with plenty of decorations and the all-important Christmas tree. We all have our own traditions, whether it’s resurrecting your favourite artificial tree from the attic or visiting your local tree farm to choose this year’s fir. However, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impact of this Christmas tradition?
While there is no straightforward answer to this question, it’s important to consider various factors when choosing a tree such as where you buy it from and how you get rid of it in January! Here, we discuss some of the pros and cons of artificial and real trees.
While artificial trees can last many years, they actually have quite a large carbon footprint due to the process of manufacturing the plastic from oil. Industrial carbon emissions are also produced when the tree is made in addition to those which occur when the tree is shipped.
According to the Carbon Trust, the total carbon footprint of a 6.5ft artificial tree is approximately 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions. That is double that of a real tree that ends up in landfill and 10 times more than a real tree that is burnt!
In order to have lower emissions that a real tree, you would need to get at least 10 years use out of the tree. This doesn’t always happen as most fake trees are thrown away after a few years. If you are planning to dispose of your tree and it is in good condition, why not consider donating it to a charity shop? That way it will be recycled and reused for another couple of years.
Real trees are often the best choice for the environment, particularly if they are disposed of correctly. According to the Carbon Trust, if a real Christmas tree ends up in landfill, it will produce carbon emissions equivalent to 16kg of greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the fact that as it decomposes, it produces methane gas; a gas that it 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
When disposing of a real tree, it is must more environmentally friendly to burn it on a bonfire, plant it or have it chipped to spread in the garden. This will significantly reduce the carbon footprint by up to 80%.
Overall, it seems that the best choice for the environment is purchasing a real tree, as long as it is disposed of properly! For more tips on how to lead an eco-friendly Christmas, follow us on Twitter!