#355--It's the age old debate--real Christmas trees or artificial Christmas trees? Well, from an environmental perspective, real Christmas trees win hands down. The carbon footprint is huge with artificial trees. Typically made in China (like everything these days), fake trees are manufactured from petroleum and most contain a known carcinogen called polyvinyl chloride. Many even contain traces of lead. And while the average life span of an artificial tree is six years, the cumulative trips to and from a local tree lot can never equal the environmental cost of shipping a product from half way around the world.
Of course, real trees have their downside, too. The biggest one as far as the environment is concerned is the use of pesticides. Often several applications are needed before to keep uninvited guests from crashing your Christmas party (and I'm not talking about your in-laws). But trees certified by the Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers use less chemicals and are noted for the soil conservation practices used in their production. Another potential negative is that many trees are not recycled and just left by the curb once the holidays have passed. But many forward thinking companies on the west coast have begun renting trees. For about the same price as you're used to paying, these companies will bring you a live tree (often delivering it in a hybrid car) and then replants them or donates them to various organizations. So now you can have your tree and plant it, too.