Real or artificial: Which Christmas trees have a greater impact on the environment

(ORDO NEWS) — Getting ready to install a Christmas tree, you may have wondered what is better for the ecology of our planet: cut down a natural tree or buy a reusable plastic one.

Trees are known to help mitigate climate change by capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in their branches, roots and needles. Christmas trees are no different in that sense, so cutting them down might seem like a bad idea.

There is some evidence that growing Christmas trees can provide environmental benefits . It takes more than 10 years for Christmas trees to grow to 1.8 meters.

During these years, trees will serve as animals and take carbon from the atmosphere. According to American experts, from one to three seedlings are planted next spring for every tree cut down.

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On the other hand, there are some concerns about how spruce trees are grown, especially due to the heavy use of pesticides and the potential displacement of established natural ecosystems to make way for spruce plantations.

If you do choose a real tree, it’s best to buy it from a local supplier to minimize the carbon footprint associated with shipping.

Christmas tree disposal is also important, especially when it comes to real trees. If they are sent to landfill, the environmental impact will be higher, as decaying wood will release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Burning wood will release carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air. The best way to recycle is to shred the tree, turning it into wood chips or mulch.

What about artificial Christmas trees?

Proponents of artificial trees claim that they are used over and over again, year after year. As true as it may be, artificial Christmas trees have a huge drawback in that they are made of plastic.

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Fake Christmas trees are often made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Even though this material is elastic, it is one of the most environmentally harmful of all plastics.

Due to its high chlorine content, PVC can produce toxic pollutants in the form of dioxins, which accumulate in animals throughout the food chain.

PVC is also very difficult to recycle and ends up in landfill where it remains for decades.

In addition, the carbon footprint of a plastic Christmas tree is actually higher than that of a real one.

A fake Christmas tree will produce an estimated 40 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions – more than twice as much as a real tree if it ends up in a landfill, and more than 10 times more than a real tree that is burned.

Chances are high that your fake Christmas tree has also traveled a long way before reaching your home. Up to 80 percent of artificial trees worldwide are made in China.

When shipped or transported around the world, a huge amount of carbon dioxide emissions will be released.

However, if you currently have an artificial Christmas tree, the best thing you can do is not throw it away, but use it for many more years to come.


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