PFT #54 - Personal Finance Tip: Is a Natural or Artifical Christmas Tree Better for the Environment?
In recent years, there has been a debate that purchasing an artificial tree is a better long-term solution to that of a natural tree.
Let’s start with artificial trees: there are many reports that they last 10-20 years; however, if taken care of properly, they can last beyond that.
The negative part is that they are made from plastic which is derived from petroleum which is oil.
So the question becomes, does the benefit of owning a non-recyclable product outweigh the cost of buying a natural tree each year?
Many reports say that it takes 20 years of using an artificial tree to achieve an equal carbon balance.
When trees are cut down or burned, they can release stored carbon back into the atmosphere; however, this equation is balanced when farmers replant new trees.
Another point is that tree farming employs over 100,000 people according to the National Christmas Tree Association.
Lastly, it typically is easy to have your tree chipped up into mulch and it can be reused for habitat restoration and helps control erosion along streams and river banks, and can even help underwater habitats.
So here’s the deal: natural Christmas trees are more expensive over time, and secondly, there is not enough statistical data to form a concrete answer about the environmental impact. However, it appears the natural tree has the edge.
As for me, I always lean on the side of what is better for the environment.