Are Fake or Real Trees Better for the Environment?

The annual debate in households is whether to get a fake or real tree for Christmas. Many people choose one and stick to it, whereas others maybe go back and forth each year to decide if buying a fake tree makes more sense because of its longevity or if the fresh scent and mess of a real tree are worth it at any cost. Lately, even more, debate surrounds this annual tree-type decision as environmentalists take a firm stand on one side. Considerations for the impact on the environment are resulting in some people changing their minds this Christmas.

Tossing the Tree: Fake v Real

Americans throw out excessive amounts of trash during the holidays, and some of that trash is trees, both natural and fake. Getting rid of a real tree may end up in the recycle or yard waste bin, while a fake tree most certainly ends up in the trash. Hands down, fake trees make more financial sense since they last longer and can be reused for multiple years and are easily stored between holidays. Data shows that people buy more than 10 million fake trees every year. Most of these trees that light up a room are imported and not biodegradable, so even if a tree lasts years, when it is time to toss it, it does not break down because of its plastic and metal makeup.

Authentic v Store Bought

You can’t beat the fresh smell and touch of a real Christmas tree. You also would not miss the constant watering and clean-up of a real tree. However, suppose we are talking strictly about the environment. In that case, real Christmas trees release oxygen and take in carbon dioxide while growing, so Christmas tree farms are helping the environment as they prepare for holiday shoppers in the upcoming year. It is estimated that Americans will take home more than 30 million trees in 2022!

Tree Farms Provide Benefits

Since fake trees are imported, mainly from China, it is challenging to compare extended benefits, but real trees from tree farms have many benefits to the community and environment. Tree farms can provide local jobs and create a natural habitat for animals and pollinators. Squirrels, bees, and other living things benefit from local tree farms. Although releasing oxygen into the air has benefits we can’t see, it is happening! Also, real trees are one hundred percent biodegradable and can be composted into fertilizer that can be used again in the upcoming year – no waste! Many shops that sell trees have a tree-recycling program, and some eco-friendly waste management companies provide convenient curbside pickup following the holidays.

Suggestions for Buying a Real Tree

If you want to buy a real tree this Christmas, try to buy it locally. It is always a good idea to support local businesses, and tree farms are right up there with local honey suppliers and local produce farmers. Keeping local businesses busy provides a healthy and sustainable supply of popular items like honey!

If you think you can manage it, ask for a tree that may not be out for viewing. Since farmers do a pre-screening process of trees that seem to have the most appeal, some that may not look just right may be on their way straight to the chipper. It is always worth a look through the less popular and imperfect trees because you may find the perfect Charlie Brown tree and save some dollars at the cashier.

Christmas Trees Are Not Sequoia Trees

Much of the debate over real v fake trees is that chopping down trees harms the environment. However, since Christmas tree farms specifically grow trees for use each year, they should not be directly compared to a large giant sequoia. Christmas trees from tree farms are more like corn, where it is grown and used, and then more is grown for annual consumption. In California, due to strict environmental legislation, tree farmers are held to high standards when running a tree farm. Often, tree farmers use methods for cultivating and recycling that are eco-friendly. The best part is that people buying a tree from a tree farm in California can feel good about supporting a local farmer since it does help the environment for the year it is growing and will also be used again in some form for next year’s crop.

Whatever you decide is best for your home this Christmas, consider buying local and supporting local businesses. Once you determine what kind of tree to purchase, whether fake or real, it is time to decide what to put under it. If you are looking for yummy stocking stuffers, contact DTek for some delicious local honey that will sweeten anybody’s Christmas holiday!