Real or Artificial Tree: Is it Even Worth Considering?

Christmas Tree Graphic
The debate between real or artificial is not a new one when it comes to Christmas trees. You may have spent time around the dinner table debating this holiday topic with your family. It seems that those debates may be over, as the Canadians at Ellipsos reconfirm that the natural Christmas tree has lower impacts on the environment than the artificial tree.

Their results conclude that a natural tree will generate 3.1 kg of greenhouse gases whereas the artificial tree will produce 8.1 kg per year. The natural tree is the best option even despite the annual trips to find it. Perhaps the most interesting part lies in the discussion of offsetting those carbon emissions.While natural trees also have environmental impacts, the life cycle assessment shows that an artificial tree would need to be kept for at least 20 years to have a lower contribution to climate change. Currently, people keep artificial trees for approximately six years on average.

According to Ellipsos, to compensate for the impacts of either the natural or artificial Christmas tree, one can offset carbon emissions by carpooling or biking to work only one to three days per year. One of the study authors, Jean-S├ębastien Trudel says:

Knowing this, the most ecological choice between the natural and the artificial Christmas tree becomes anecdotal. Regardless of the chosen type of tree, the impacts on the environment are negligible if compared to other activities, such as driving solo to work on a daily basis.

This doesn't mean you should dismiss these findings. It simply means that it is a small contributor to your overall ecological footprint relatively speaking. To really live a greener lifestyle, we need to do a lot more than choose a natural tree.

Perhaps the best option of all is a tree with roots decorating one in your yard, thus eliminating this debate all together, but we know life is not always so simple.
Image and study via: Ellipsos.

More on the Greener Christmas Trees:
How to: Pick a Green Christmas Tree
Choose a Christmas Tree with Roots (Video) on Planet Green
Christmas Trees Add to Global Warming
TreeHugger Holiday Guides

Related Content on