Is Your Christmas Tree Sustainable?
Christmas trees have become synonymous with the well-celebrated winter holiday cherished around the world. The National Christmas Tree Association estimates that 25-30 million real trees are bought in the U.S. alone. And this number doesn’t include artificial trees! With such astronomical numbers, one has to wonder: Are Christmas trees great for our homes but bad for the earth? Read on to find out more about the sustainability of both real and artificial Christmas trees.
Photo by Jasmin Schuler
Where Are Christmas Trees Grown?
In the U.S., Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania boast the largest number of tree farms. However, this doesn’t mean that smaller and more local farms in other states aren’t growing Christmas trees. Because real trees need to arrive fresh, they're grown across different states and all over the world to reach homes ASAP in prime condition.
How Are Christmas Trees Grown?
Nearly all Christmas trees are farmed, which adds to their sustainability. These farms are carefully managed and 1-3 saplings are planted for every tree that is cut down in anticipation of future demand. Trees are planted in the spring and take roughly 15 years to grow into an average height of 6-7 feet. They’re sheared during these years to encourage the Christmas tree shape we all know and love.
Are Christmas Trees Bad for the Environment?
The good news is that naturally grown and locally bought trees are quite sustainable. Unlike fake trees, they help trap CO2 instead of produce it as they grow into an acceptable height for cutting. Plus, they provide food and shelter for wildlife through their growth. Local trees are the best option because they also require the least amount of travel. If sustainability is a central concern for you, taking your tree to a recycling center for Christmas trees gives them a second life as they’re turned into raw material.
On the other hand, artificial trees usually end up in the trash. Even if a family manages to use a tree for a decade, it will eventually end up in a landfill. This is only after major efforts have been made to get the trees into your home. Roughly 80% of fake trees are made in China. These trees are commonly made from non-biodegradable materials and then shipped across the globe, resulting in an increase of carbon emissions.
Fresh, real trees are the undeniably more sustainable option. Whenever possible, opt for a locally grown tree instead of a fake one. It’s just one more way you can make the holidays a reason to celebrate.
Bark Potty partners with 1% for the Planet to donate 1% of our sales to One Tree Planted. 1% for the Planet is a network of businesses that have committed to taking responsibility for the environmental impacts of their various industries. 1% for the Planet encourages businesses to practice corporate responsibility by facilitating donations to grassroots environmental organizations such as One Tree Planted. Each Bark Potty purchase you make further supports our collective efforts to reduce the ecological footprint that humans have left on the environment!