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Real or Fake?

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Christmas Trees

What did you think...

What is best for Our World?

If, like me, you are celebrating Christmas and already have a tree you may think this might be more relevant for next year. However, no matter what type of tree you already have there is still more to think about and decide.

What is the debate and what should we really be doing? A very good question…

I have been reading from several recent sources - The Guardian newspaper, BBC, other blogs, The Irish Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The New York Times.

Here’s what I they all seem to agree.

At the end of the day

A real tree is better but a lot depends on where it comes from, how you get it and what you do with it afterwards. So, the good reasons for a real tree and what you need to do to make sure this does have a positive rather then negligible or even negative impact.

Positive reasons to have a Real tree:

- It provides a home to creatures large and small when the tree is alive

- It soaks up emissions until the day it is cut down

- More trees are planted each year because of demand

But there are things you need to consider if you want to ensure this is the best choice:

1. Buy Local - the distance from you to it – yes, car emissions need to be considered.

How far did you or it travel or both.

2. NEVER put a real tree into land fill it causes greenhouse emissions. I didn't realise that.

3. Instead, ALWAYS recycle by wood chipping or mulching it.

(check your local area or council for where to do this, hopefully they can pick it

up to save on car emissions)

As with most of these issues we need to think about what, why, how, where and when. Never a bad idea in life generally.

But what is wrong with a Plastic tree?

Growing up we always had a plastic tree. It was bought on a New Year’s Eve in New York City by my newly married parents in the Macy's sale. This tree has been with us a very long time, over 40 years and counting. My own children have helped construct it. You actually have to put each branch into the "trunk". Color coded, of course.

So what is the problem with a Plastic tree?

- The manufacturing of plastic is harmful – 40kg of greenhouse emissions for a 6.5ft tree.

              * which is more than that of a real tree that ends up in landfill and

               * 10 times more than a real tree that is burnt

- Disposal of the artificial tree is harmful, as more greenhouse emissions are released when put in landfill.

So what do you need to do if you have a Plastic tree?

One day I will have to do something with our family's plastic tree, so what is best?

First, avoid landfill - Donate it or resell it when you no longer need it.

Second, if you have bought a plastic tree keep it for a long time - over 20 years says the Irish Times (tick).

Third, buy second hand - for those of you thinking of buying a fake tree buy it second hand. I'll let you know when ours goes on sale.

I feel better about the real tree we bought this year, however, we did not put enough thought into it as the articles I have just been quoting suggest. One of next year's challenges is to look at where the trees we buy are coming from.

For this year's tree, before we do our curb side recycling through the local council, we need to double, double check it is being wood chipped and not put in landfill.

Actually, I am going to check that now...

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