Monday, November 30, 2009

o christmas tree!

I've come across several articles about the merits of "real vs. fake" Christmas trees recently. Thought I'd share some of the info for those of you who celebrate Christmas and are wondering which is better for the world - a live tree, or a boxed one...

Number of real Christmas trees sold in the US in 2008 - 28.2 million
Number of artificial trees imported into the US in 2008 (mostly from China) - 8.9 million

Pounds of plastic (mostly PVC) contained in a typical artificial tree - 7.3

Number of years a person must reuse an artificial tree before it has a lower carbon footprint than a real tree (according to one study) - 20
Number of years an artificial tree is typically reused before being thrown into the landfill - 6 to 9

Most real Christmas trees come from farms, not forests. They are a crop that is designed to be harvested in "rounds" (each year as trees are cut, more are planted), and typically have little to no pesticides sprayed on them over their growing years.

And my favorite tidbit from my reading - "Artificial trees come in a cardboard box. Does that save a tree?" That one made me laugh!

We get a "cut your own" Christmas tree each year from Warren Farm in Barrington. Going out in the fields to choose a tree is one of my favorite Christmas activities - especially when there's snow on the ground and the fields are looking wintery and beautiful! When Christmas is over, we always lay the tree out in the woods in back of our house, and it becomes a hideout for critters like squirrels and birds. Many bigger towns offer Christmas tree pick-up, and turn the trees into compost or woodchips. All good!

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Nothing like a real tree at Christmas! Alas, we had to pull out the old 'tree in a box' this year to cut costs.

Oh well, it's better than no tree at all!

Merry Christmas!
Lisa
@ All That and a Box of Rocks

Benita said...

We used to drive around in the country looking for a nice cedar tree in a farmer's fence row. Since cedar trees grow like weeds in the poor soil of southern Indiana, farmers were more than happy to "donate" what people wanted at Christmas. I know we never minded when someone cut one out of ours - it was just one less we had to clear out later.

Those cedar trees always smelled lovely.

Colleen said...

Hi Lisa - my sister uses a "tree in a box" too, to avoid bringing her 2 little ones out to the tree farm until they're older. If it works, it works!! :)

Hi Benita - that's great about the cedar trees - definitely making good use of what's in your region!! I love it!

:)Colleen

Life Looms Large said...

Interesting thoughts about trees!

We are somewhat scrooge-like and lazy at our house. (Plus we don't have kids).

We tend not to get a Christmas tree. I decorate with certain Christmas decorations I've had since childhood, and we sometimes get special Christmas candles. But we only get a tree maybe once every 7 or 8 years. (We're more lazy than scrooge-like I promise!)

We do like to cut our own tree - often at Tonry Tree Farm in Hampton. I like keeping local land in use for tree farms rather than housing developments.

Maybe this year I'll say that my lack of tree is out of environmental concern instead of just laziness!!!

Sue

Colleen said...

Hi Sue -
I agree - tree farms are much nicer to look at than more houses!!

Green is "in," right? So no tree could definitely be trendy :) LOL

Colleen