As there is no crystal clear one way answer to the above question, “real versus fake” Christmas tree debate still stays a hot subject for discussion. Below you’ll find all the advantages and disadvantages of the two Christmas tree alternatives.
Fake Christmas Trees:
85% of Fake Christmas trees are made in China with polyvinyl chloride (or PVC, otherwise known as vinyl), one of the most ecologically violent forms of non-renewable, petroleum-derived material. Producing PVC pollutes neighborhoods located near factory sites. Furthermore, labor standards in China don’t sufficiently shield workers from the unsafe chemicals they are handling and it quite often leads to cancer!
Additionally, the additives used to make PVC more malleable include substances linked to liver, kidney, neurological and reproductive system damage, extensively used in lab studies on animals. Many healthcare organizations warn that fake trees can shed lead-laced dust, which may cover branches or shower gifts and the floor below the tree, so be attentive to your children to avoid inhaling or eating any dust or parts that may come loose.
Real Christmas Trees:
While natural Christmas trees are used for a short time only, they are 100% recyclable and are then applied as mulch or used to prevent erosion. Live trees are typically grown as a crop in farms and replanted in rotation after cutting. Life Cycle Assessment study states that a natural tree will generate 3.1 kg of greenhouse gases every year (based on purchasing 5 km from home) whereas the artificial tree will produce 48.3 kg over its lifetime. The major obstacle of real Christmas trees is that, because they are cultivated as agricultural products, they often require constant applications of pesticides over their usual eight-year lifespans. Also, as they are growing and then again once discarded, they may contribute to contamination of local watersheds.
After all this discussion, one conclusion can be made - the most eco-friendly way to enjoy a Christmas tree is to buy a live tree with its roots undamaged and then replant it in your yard once the holiday season has passed! So, dear life Christmas tree owners, please consider our advice- do not just throw your tree away, otherwise the consequences will be as deplorable, as it’s described on the Green Piece Christmas poster, which says: Winter. You'll Miss It When It's Gone.