Every holiday season, the Natural vs. Artificial Christmas tree debate come up. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of trees, but from an environmental standpoint, experts agree; natural is better.
Over 400 million live Christmas trees are grown on tree farms throughout the U.S. It can take up to 7 years for a tree to be Christmas ready and they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen all the while. According to some estimates, a single farm raised Christmas tree can absorb up to 2,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. In addition, Christmas trees are often grown in soil that can't support other crops, which helps stabilize the soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge for wildlife.
In addition, while 85% of artificial trees are imported from China, real Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states. The Christmas Tree industry creates over 100,000 U.S. jobs, according to Smithsonian.com.
Best of all, real trees are biodegradable and can be recycled. Just about every city in the metro area has a "treecycling" program to turn used holiday trees into compost or mulch. In contrast, most artificial trees are made from PVC, a non-biodegradable, petroleum based plastic. Even though an artificial tree can be re-used each year, studies suggest that it would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree annually.
So this year, start dreaming of a green Christmas and go natural!