I’m talking Christmas trees of course. And when it comes to which option is greener, well it really depends on who you ask.
Those in the artificial camp (read: the Vinyl institute) cite the disposal issue of throwing out a real tree year after year versus storing of one tree that you reuse each year. They also point out the mess of pine needles, the fire hazard of real trees and the cost (a one-time versus a yearly cost).
Those like the National Christmas Tree Association point out real trees can be recycled by being ground into mulch for landscaping, where artificial trees really can’t be recycled. Also, live trees absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rather than off gas PVC chemicals like artificial trees. And almost all Christmas trees are grown on farms, so deforestation is not an issue.
As for me, I have an artificial tree. It was passed on to my family by my in-laws after they used it for many years. I justify it because I did not purchase it, and if we weren’t using it, it would just be collecting dust in my in-laws garage and going to no use while my family purchased and threw out a real tree year after year. So, for me, a second-hand artificial tree is green.
Not to mention the fact that this little beauty (really, it is pretty and it looks quite real)…
Well, it was offered to me the same year that my real tree came crashing down in the middle of the night, soaking my newly refinished wood floor with water, breaking my antique Christmas ornaments, and pretty much scaring the living daylights out of everyone in my house. That combined with the endless clean up of pine needles made switching to an artificial tree a pretty easy sell for me at that time.
But I recently discovered a new trend in green Christmas trees that I think is pretty brilliant. It’s too late to hop on this trend this year, but I wanted to plant the seed so you will consider it for the next holiday season. It’s an option beyond disposing of a real tree or purchasing an artificial one. It’s a Christmas tree rental program and here’s how it works: a potted pine tree is delivered to your door, you decorate it, water it, enjoy it for the season, and then it gets picked up from your house after the holidays. The tree is then stored at a local nursery until the following year, when it can be returned to you. That’s right, you can even rent the same tree the following year. The trees are bar-coded so you can essentially adopt your tree and watch it grow and come back to you year after year – all for a cost of about $100. It’s genius!
There are currently about seven companies offering this service across the west coast. One local company offering this service is The Living Christmas Co. located in Lomita.
So, what do you think – real or fake or rental? What kind of tree is in your house? Would you consider this rental program? What is the greenest option for you?