Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To Cut or Not to Cut - Eco Christmas Trees

Back to rain, too bad.

So it's that time of year when greens begin to adorn...everything and it's time to "put up the tree". Since the green movement has progressed, there is the occasional discussion about what constitutes an environmentally correct or eco Christmas tree. So here are my latest thoughts on the topic.

Artificial, the traditional type, is made of one thing - plastic. They do offer the person with tree allergies a chance to have a tree but other than that, I believe they are not worth the environmental impact. Why?

The carbon footprint for making these plastic trees in China is huge. Then add that most are made from PVC and have lead in them, and it becomes almost impossible to justify. I know they are reusable, for a few years, but then what? You can't really mulch them and spread them around, now can you? Discussion over... almost.

So what about all those cut down trees? How can any good environmentalist condone this? Well the reason (excuse?) is that standard curbside or cut your own Christmas trees are farm raised, as in an agricultural business. Sort of like growing a bunch..a lot.. of asparagus. This promotes farming and gives many farmers a winter income, especially around here in New Hampshire.
Tree farms provide birds some habitat but so would letting the trees just continue to grow. Not very convincing is it?

Farmed raised trees are often given pesticides just like other crops which really isn't good for anything or any of us. There are many farms that have gone organic because of this. For a biased view but with worthwhile information, the National Christmas Tree Association has a website so you can find a local farm.

If you have your own land, you can just go in the woods and cut down a straggler, maybe a tree that needs to come out since it might split and make a mess later on. You can also grow your own and you don't need much land either. It's really fun and very rewarding.

Another option is a potted tree that you can plant later on but they can be pretty finicky so be careful. Having a perpetual tree that you decorate during Christmas is a viable option. Norfolk Island Pines are perfect for this.

There is something lovely about cutting down your own Christmas tree. Maybe it's more about family and the hot chocolate after. Either way, I'll opt for the eco Christmas tree with the real smell. Happy trimming.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I love the smell of Christmas trees. I live in Florida, where it is too hot for Christmas trees to grow...(I could decorate a Palm Tree, but its not the same...) so it is not really an option to bring home a planted one or to find one to decorate.

I agree that plastic trees are horrible for the environment (and I did not know many of them have lead in them, yikes!)

So, I am happy that I will be buying and eventually recycling my Christmas tree this year.

Thank you for the great post!