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A new poll on climate change shows some in North Dakota are yet to be convinced; indicted FBI informant central to GOP Biden probe rearrested; and mortgage scams can leave victims clueless and homeless.

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The White House reacts to the Alabama embryo ruling, Nikki Haley clarifies her stance on IVF, state laws preserve some telemedicine abortion pill access and a Texas judge limits CROWN act protections.

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Pesticides are featured in Idaho's David vs. Goliath conflict, Congress needs to act if affordable internet programs are to continue in rural America and conservatives say candidates should support renewable energy to win over young voters.

Real vs. artificial tree: Which is better for the environment?

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Friday, December 8, 2023   

Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association. But some families choose artificial trees, and each choice comes with environmental consequences.

Delaney Barber, energy and climate manager for the Hoosier Environmental Council, said live trees help store carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but when they are disposed of, that process creates carbon.

"If it's just going into a landfill, it's probably the worst," Barber said. "It's going to degrade down over time because it is biodegradable, but it will release more emissions as it degrades."

One report on the website earth.org claims real Christmas trees have an average carbon footprint of almost eight pounds of carbon dioxide if destroyed in a wood chipper after use. In a landfill, the carbon footprint increases to 35 pounds.

Barber suggested that Hoosiers take their live trees to designated drop-off sites in most cities for recycling, to create mulch or compost.

Artificial trees require minimal maintenance and can last for years. However, Barber explained, they're made from petroleum-based plastics and take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. Where the tree is made presents more questions.

"Are you getting the fake Christmas tree from a U.S. manufacturer," she said, "or is it coming from overseas? And then, there's more transportation emissions for that."

About 80% of artificial Christmas trees are manufactured in China, with a lifespan of up to 30 years. Some companies are making them out of recycled materials, which helps reduce their carbon footprint.


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