The Xmas Tree Dilemma...

This year I pulled out my old, little stick xmas tree, but alas, it had disintegrated beyond repair (and now destined for the garden). Keen to give my daughter Leighton the 'best' first xmas ever, we decided to get a large tree.
But here is the dilemma - when it comes to fake vs real, which is the best eco choice? The answer is not clear cut...

Fake Vs Real

Fake trees are appealing as they are economical, re-useable and do not drop needles. However, your stock standard green plastic tree is made of PVC (polychloride vinyl, a very non-eco, non-renewable, petroleum based plastic) and are not recyclable. As the majority are produced in China, there are ethical questions about some manufacturers and their processes. You could hunt around for a tree made from recycled plastic, but they are extremely rare (and so far I haven't found any in Australia).

The saving grace of a fake plastic tree is that you will use them over and over, year after year. If you buy a high quality tree, it may be able to become a family heirloom, and therefore the longevity of the tree may outweigh it's not-so-eco credentials. The sad reality is, unfortunately in this materialistic world, many people upgrade their Xmas trees within 10 years, contributing to landfill and the remanufacture of these toxic trees.

Real trees absorb carbon dioxide in the air and store it for life. They can be 'recycled' - turned into mulch for the garden. They fill a room with that fresh pine tree gully smell. The trees are grown locally, reducing transport costs and supporting local growers. However, a real tree is not always practical for those who live in inner city areas, who have small spaces, or no local council tree pick up after xmas. In fact, being in Australia, finding a real xmas tree (or farm near your area) may be hard for many.

There is also the use of pesticides and herbacides to consider when choosing a a local xmas tree grower, especially if you have sensitive family members. Others argue that growing a tree for years before cutting it down and using it for decoration for two weeks is a waste of a tree, our precious energy, water and land. 

 For us, we will be using our Norfolk Island Pine, in a pot - and praying that it doesn't die whilst inside. Using a real tree in a pot is probably the best environmental choice by far. We hope to use it for years to come, and then plant it in our front yard once it outgrows it's pot. Of course this will not suit everybody, especially those in apartments. In the end, you have to weigh up your options, and decide what is best for your family, and what the best eco choice is for your situation. 

There are other alternatives out there... and I will post some of my favourites next time. Until then...
Elena x 



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