Real vs. artificial tree: Which is better for the environment?
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.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
The Florida House is expected to follow the Senate's lead by signing off on an initiative to pour millions into the state's health care industry…
Pro-Ukraine rallies are planned in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco as well as cities across the United States this weekend, marking the …
New York activists are voicing serious concerns about the state's new congressional maps. The state's top court ordered new voting-district maps to …
New York lawmakers are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to keep dredging the Hudson River. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., sent a …
A unique collaboration between Ford Motor Co. and 41 community and technical colleges across the country is helping students and the automotive …
A new survey reveals most Mainers support policies requiring medical providers to disclose their facility fees before they receive treatment…
People who receive emergency food services from New Mexico food banks and other charitable organizations were among those at a strategic summit Friday…
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, all 17 counties across the state don't have enough health-care professionals…