Which is better for the environment, real Christmas trees or artificial Christmas trees?
We asked 50 people in Dupont Circle this question and 27 said they believed fake trees have less of an environmental impact. It seems that the guilt associated with cutting down a real tree draws people to the conclusion that artificial trees are more environmentally friendly. However, the counter-intuitive truth is that, for most consumers, real Christmas trees have less of an impact than fake Christmas trees. Here's why:
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, about 85% of the artificial Christmas trees in America were manufactured in China and the materials used to produce them are typically non-biodegradable metals and plastics. Multiple third party studies show that the average length of artificial tree ownership is about six years. The same studies report that purchasing an artificial Christmas tree is only better for the environment if the owner keeps it for more than nine years. However, no matter the length of ownership, once the artificial trees are thrown away, they are likely to end up in a landfill where it can take centuries before they fully decompose.
On the other hand, real Christmas trees can be used to strengthen the environment. The Virginia Christmas Tree Grower's Association reports that an acre of Christmas trees (about 1,000 trees) can provide enough fresh oxygen for 18 people, while simultaneously decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Real Christmas trees are also sustainable crops that are great for keeping unstable soil from eroding and providing habitats for wildlife. And, once the holiday the season is over, Christmas trees can be turned into mulch for municipal parks, used as artificial habitats for fisheries, or even be replanted and harvested for the following year.
Even with the growing movement of environmentally conscious consumers, a recent Nielsen survey shows about 80% of trees displayed in the U.S. are artificial. One can only assume that the reason is that displaying an artificial tree is a whole lot easier than dealing with the hassle of displaying of a real tree. That's why we started DC Tree Delivery. With our Christmas tree delivery program, we help people obtain premium Christmas trees, set the whole thing up with a loaned stand, and even removing their tree at the end of the season, making sure their decorations and tree are recycled. Our goal is to combine the convenience of owning an artificial Christmas tree with the environmental and sentimental benefits of displaying a real Christmas tree.
Tweet at us at @DCTreeDelivery and let us know what kind of tree you will be getting this year.