Are real or faux Christmas trees better for the planet?

Real or fake tree? It used to just be a matter of taste and tradition, but now Australians want to know which is the most environmentally responsible choice.

Most households in Australia have their Christmas decor routine - especially when it comes to the tree. Either you're a real Christmas or a faux tree family. But now, as the country's concern with plastic waste and environmental impact grows, people want to know what the most sustainable choice is.

Faux Tree

While it might seem like a fake tree would be sustainable, as you use the same for multiple years, faux Christmas trees are pretty detrimental to the environment.

Most plastic trees in Australia made of strips of PVC or polyvinyl chloride. It is a common non-recyclable plastic. So even after many years of use, the artificial tree will still just end up in the landfill.

The majority of faux trees are also manufactured in China. Therefore, the carbon footprint each tree has just in their journey to each Aussie home is considerable.

As reported by the New York Times, a Canadian environmental consulting firm conducted research on the real vs fake question and discovered that you would need to reuse the same artificial tree for over 20 years in order for it to be a more sustainable choice than buying a fresh local Christmas pine annually.

Real Tree

Christmas trees are farmed in Australia. So, although it may feel as if cutting down a tree for a single use is not good for the environment, each tree sold is replaced with a seedling for the following year's crop. It is a pretty drought-hardy crop and is grown across the country.

To be as eco-friendly as possible when purchasing a fresh Christmas pine, buy one a local farm - reducing the carbon footprint and supporting small and mid-sized Australian agriculture. 

It is also important to find out if the supplier that you get your tree from, or even your local council, has a responsible disposal service. If a real tree is thrown away normally it produces four times as much CO2, as one that is repurposed or chipped. 

Alternative 

Some Australians are going the ultra-green route and ditching traditional Christmas trees all together. 

There are fun and sustainable alternatives, such as repurposing used wine bottles to make a tree or using recycled or found wood for a minimalist look.

Another great alternative is purchasing houseplant, which has been proven to be beneficial to you and the environment, that is both festive and that you can keep long-term - such as ornamental chillies. 

 

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