Christmas Trees: Live or Artificial?

by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing

Go to a Florida tree farm and get your live tree. Why?

It turns out that the live tree is the more sustainable choice (though not necessarily the cheapest, tidiest or most convenient.) Says Joe Romm of Climate Progress, “Most fake plastic trees are made of hard-to-recycle plastics such as PVC, shipped stateside from China and do more harm to the environment than good.” Approximately 85% of plastic trees come from China, so add the emissions from crossing the ocean to the use of plastics in manufacture, and the environmental profile is not good. A typical tree lasts 6 to 10 years and then ends up in a landfill, where it doesn’t biodegrade.

Conversely, a live tree generally comes from a tree farm in the United States. About 33 million live trees are sold in North America each year, according to the US EPA. About 93% of those trees are recycled through more than 4,000 available recycling programs. Live trees are biodegradable, local, and can also be chipped and re-used as compost or mulch.

A single farmed tree absorbs more than 1 ton of CO2 during its lifetime. The 350 million Christmas trees growing on U.S. tree farms sequester a significant amount of carbon. And in order to ensure a healthy supply of Christmas trees each year, growers generally plant one to three seedlings the following spring for each tree harvested.

Did you know that Florida has Christmas tree farms? They do. Click here to see a map of Florida tree farm locations, plus fun facts about Christmas tree types and how to properly dispose of them.

Happy Holidays!