Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Real vs Fake Christmas Trees

Cutting your own tree is a
 more sustainable option
 With Christmas right around the corner I thought I would share a story with my readers that I came across recently about the question many of us have....Should I use a fake or real tree at Christmas?  

You would have to use a
fake tree 20 years before
it matched the carbon
footprint of a farmed tree
 Much of the general public feels it is environmentally correct to use a fake tree instead of a real tree for Christmas each year.  The mindset being that it must be wrong to cut down a tree.  Steve Mitchell, a forestry professor at the University of British Columbia, referencing a life cycle study completed in 2009 by Ellipsos, a sustainable consulting company out of Montreal, indicated that a fake tree would have to be kept 20 years before it would match the carbon footprint of a tree grown on a Christmas tree farm.  He added, the most sustainable option would be to use a wild grown tree since farmed trees are sheared and many fertilized.  All of which increases their carbon footbrint.  Their study points out that most fake trees are used only 6 years before most are thrown out and end up in a landfill.

When Christmas is over don't just set your Christmas tree out on the curb for trash pick-up.  They make great wildlife habitat.  If you feed birds over the winter set them out near your feeders.  They will provide shelter for the birds and great escape cover from predators.  Following that you can pile them in brushy areas to provide habitat for small mammels, such as rabbits.  If you do have to throw them away make sure they will be chipped and composted.  That way the tree is recycled and not just tossed in a landfill.

Real Christmas trees more sustainable than fakes, forestry professor says
An artificial Christmas tree would have to be used for 20 years before its carbon footprint matches that of a farmed tree, according to a forestry professor at the University of B.C. Steve Mitchell said most artificial trees are kept only six years before fashions change and owners throw them out. Most end their life in a landfill.

"Artificial trees need to be kept for 20 years for the carbon emissions to be equivalent to using natural trees," Mitchell said, referring to a life cycle study done in 2009 by Ellipsos, a Montreal-based sustainable consulting company.

To read the full story click here.


Unknown said...

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fake tree

David R. Jackson said...

Thanks for the kind words. Glad to know you find it useful.