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The Great Debate: Real or Artificial Christmas Tree?

Which is better for the environment? The debate continues to rage on, but we're settling it here and now.

The answer is real trees.

Here's why:

Even though this has been hotly debated for years, the answer is that Real trees are the better option . Choose a locally grown, real tree.  Trees take about a decade to grow, but it's part of our natural cycle. Use sustainable and local farms that limit toxic chemicals. Trees are farmed like other crops and break down into soil when the decompose.

Artificial trees are often made of PVC plastic and steel shipped from China, Here's the deal, though -- the more you re-use your plastic tree the better. Plastic is made of oil. But if you have an artificial tree, by all means keep using it!

Remember being a better steward of the environment isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress.

Recycling plastic trees is also hard - they usually end up in the landfill so consider it as something you might pass down.

I wish I had my grandparent’s silver aluminum tree from the 1950s!

Locate the Xmas tree recycling program in your community and consider this part of your annual holiday tradition. In NYC, for example, participate in Mulchfest, sponsored by NYC parks and NYC Sanitation. In 2021, New York City Sanitation recycled 29,000 trees.

You can find natural Christmas tree recyling in most communities. In my hometown of Bozeman, for example, there are several sites around town to drop off your real Christmas tree for recycling. The city mulches them for use for landscaping in the summers.

For more ideas on greening your holidays, check out this interview I did with New York's Pix-11 News from 2022 to learn more about how to have a sustainable holiday:


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