Saturday, December 18, 2010

Which is better for the environment, fake Christmas trees or real ones? The answer may surprise you...

Which is better for the environment, fake Christmas trees or real?  If you are trying to conserve trees, then fake is the way to go. But if you are trying to conserve resources overall and minimize your "carbon footprint", then the choice is not so clear...

NYTIMES:  How Green Is Your Artificial Christmas Tree? You Might Be Surprised

""Kim Jones, who was shopping for a tree at a Target store in Brooklyn this week, was convinced that she was doing the planet a favor by buying a $200 fake balsam fir made in China instead of buying a carbon-sipping pine that had been cut down for one season’s revelry.


“I’m very environmentally conscious,” Ms. Jones said. “I’ll keep it for 10 years, and that’s 10 trees that won’t be cut down.”


But Ms. Jones and the millions of others buying fake trees might not be doing the environment any favors.


In the most definitive study of the perennial real vs. fake question, an environmental consulting firm in Montreal found that an artificial tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree annually. The calculations included greenhouse gas emissions, use of resources and human health impacts.


“The natural tree is a better option,” said Jean-Sebastien Trudel, founder of the firm, Ellipsos, that released the independent study last year""


“You’re not doing any harm by cutting down a Christmas tree,” said Clint Springer, a botanist and professor of biology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “A lot of people think artificial is better because you’re preserving the life of a tree. But in this case, you’ve got a crop that’s being raised for that purpose.”


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