Let's first take a look at what it means to be GREEN: Recycle, Reuse, Renew
The Pros and Cons of Artificial Trees
Guilt. Many have made it the sole reason to invest in an artificial tree. The thought of cutting down a new tree each year can put a damper on the holidays for some. Also, cost, convenience and environmental impact are other reasons consumers opt for an artificial tree. Given the current economic climate, artificial trees may be especially appealing for their investment value when compared with the recurrent, annual expense of a real Christmas tree. Their convenience is also appealing to consumers as they don't need watering, don't leave pine needles all over the floor and transportation from tree farm to home isn't an issue.
But many experts believe artificial trees actually have a greater negative environmental impact when all aspects of an their life cycle are considered. Today's artificial trees are typically manufactured with metal and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a non-biodegradable, petroleum-derived plastic. In addition, many older varieties may contain lead, used as a stabilizer in the manufacturing process. Despite their PVC contents, artificial trees are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, meaning they will sit in a landfill for centuries after disposal. Furthermore, approximately 85 percent of artificial trees sold in the U.S. are imported from China, according to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), adding to their overall environmental footprint. Read the full story by Earth911.com.....
Another aspect to consider is Localism. By buying artificial trees are we contributing to unnecessary energy consumption? The Association of Christmas Trees has some insightful thought regarding the matter too.
A Christmas Tale: Made in America?
Some believe that buying live Christmas trees instead of artificial trees is a little like buying American-made automobile instead of an import. “Real trees are grown in the U.S., and artificial trees are made overseas,” or so they say. The truth is like many stories told during this season, it’s just another Christmas tale.
More and more trees are grown outside the U.S., including Canada and Mexico, and brought to corner lots across America. A few artificial Christmas trees are made in the U.S.
As nearly every present under that beautiful tree has been made, assembled or purchased overseas, the same may be true of the very tree that stands over them – real or artificial
Read the full story by the Christmas Tree Association.com ......
The New York Times say this....
In the most definitive study of the perennial real vs. fake question, an environmental consulting firm in Montreal found that an artificial tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree annually. The calculations included greenhouse gas emissions, use of resources and human health impacts.
“The natural tree is a better option,” said Jean-Sebastien Trudel, founder of the firm, Ellipsos, that released the independent study last year.
But there's more to it than just recycle-ability and energy.
I read an article from Goeshealth.com and have to say this is a good case for going plastic:
Health problems ranging from coughing, hoarseness, sluggish body to insomnia. This condition is known as the Christmas tree syndrome. This problem is triggered by a fungus that grows on pine trees, the spores causes respiratory problems when inhaled.
This has been researched by a team from the Upstate Medical University, New York. The team conducted the study after seeing increased respiratory illness in the weeks before and after December 25.
They analyzed a part of the 28 types of fir trees. Including the twigs and bark of various species. Found 53 cases, and of that number, 70 percent can cause symptoms of nasal itching, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, sinus congestion, fatigue and sleep problems.
They go on to say....
The research team also reported another study that found that after the Christmas tree installed for two weeks, the number of mold spores in the air increased significantly.
According to doctors Kurlandsky Lawrence, chief researcher, he has been treating patients whose symptoms are very clearly shows the relationship between health problems they experienced with their Christmas tree.
As with anything else in life, you need to make choices that are specific to what is best for your family.