Christmas Trees: Which is Eco-friendly? Real or Fake?

According to the Nature Conservancy, it’s estimated that each year 30 million real Christmas trees and 10 million artificial Christmas trees are brought home each year. It can sometimes be Christmas Treedifficult to determine which is the more eco-friendly option over the years. With that question in mind, we at Green Apple Supply wanted to shed some light on what is truly the more environmentally friendly option.

Believe it or not, a real tree is the way to go.

Here are the arguments.

Sustainable Farms: We're not saying head out into your local woods! The vast majority of real Christmas trees are grown on farms that plant for every tree taken. As they grow, these trees store carbon, emit oxygen, suppress soil erosion, provide habitat for nesting birds, and create local employment.

Reusability: One of the main arguments for using a plastic tree is that it can be reused year after year. While that is true, consider that it takes the average plastic bottle 450-1000 years to decompose. If that's the case for 1 bottle, how long will it take for the plastic in your tree to decompose? Plastic trees cannot be recycled, and it is estimated that the average household only uses their artificial tree for 6 years. Talk about creating waste.

Many areas offer recycling services for real trees that grind them into mulch, allowing them to enrich the soil year after year. Real Christmas trees offer true, sustainable reusability. Look into places in your area that recycle trees for a truly eco-friendly approach.

C02 Emissions: Arguments have been made that the emissions associated with driving to get a real tree, disposing of the tree, and mulching the tree all create unwarranted CO2 emissions. While this is true, consider that most artificial trees are made in Asia, in areas where environmental protection laws aren't strictly enforced. The cost of transporting the raw materials to these factories, shipping the trees overseas to retail stores, and the driving to purchase these trees far outweigh the process of a real tree. AND that all goes without mentioning the harmful chemicals used in the artificial tree's production process.

Aroma: It may not factor into the eco-friendly discussion, but one of the joys of having a real Christmas tree is the wonderful piney aroma that fills your home. While we certainly understand the hypoallergenic quality of an artificial tree, if you do not suffer from allergies, consider a real tree purely for the fresh smell you’ll bring into your home.

The Extra Mile: Do you want to be very eco-friendly? Pot a small live tree. You’ll be able to repot and reuse the tree as it grows, and when the time comes that the tree outgrows the house, plant it in your yard where you can watch it grow for years to come. The fresh air and aroma will be worth keeping it around all year.


So, if you’re among the 10 million people thinking about picking up an artificial tree this year, think twice. The benefits of buying a real tree are evident. You’ll be happy with that fresh piney scent, and the earth will be happy to have less waste. Remember, even if you use that plastic tree for 10 years, the remnants of that plastic tree will be around for hundreds of years.

Enjoy the Holidays and have a eco-friendly New Year from everyone at Green Apple Supply!