December 1, 2021

Environmental vs. Safety Concerns Make Christmas Tree Decision A Tough One

christmas tree

For years people have argued over fake Christmas trees vs. real ones, with the clear winner being intended use and safety considerations

Deciding between a fake tree or a real one at Christmas time is a tough decision for many. On one hand, fake Christmas trees made of plastic are much tougher on the environment from both a manufacturing perspective as well as end of life result. On the other, real trees pose a much greater safety risk due primarily to drying out and oftentimes close proximity to fire starting hazards in the home.

Both sides will argue for the trees they want to market and sell to consumers. Companies manufacturing and selling fake tress point to the ease of putting up the tree as well as lack of mess involved. No pine needles to contend with. No watering or concern over the tree drying up and catching on fire.

What’s more, these same companies sometimes attempt to argue that fake trees save real ones from being chopped down. The fact of the matter is, for every real tree harvested for Christmas, two to three are planted in it’s place.

Fake trees pose a much greater impact on the environment due to how they are manufactured and the materials used. After an average life span of 7.5 years for a fake tree according to the National Christmas Tree Association, the tree is typically dumped in a landfill where it breaks down and contributes harmful materials like plastic and lead into the ground.

Real trees, the choice for many, are much more environmentally friendly with many trees getting ground into useful mulch after serving their time as the Christmas centerpiece in the home. The biggest risk is a safety one. Real trees need to be treated properly, cutting off at least a quarter inch from the base once brought home. Keeping the pot full of water while the tree is in the house is also critical.

Each type of tree has its merits, but the decision really boils down to not only personal preference, but one of safety verses environmental impact.