Real Trees vs. Fake Trees - What is Greener?

Its that time again, time to make the decision whether to pull out your old boxed fake tree and start attaching those color coded wire branches, or drive down to the farmer's market and tie a real tree to the roof of your car.

Maybe you never though much about it, but there are some pretty significant differences between fake and real trees when it comes to their impact on the health of your family and the environment. Since this blog is all about integrating the "Green Piece" into your daily life, let me explain those differences, they might surprise you!

Your first instinct might be to think fake trees are better for the earth because they are "renewable." Although they are used year-after-year, the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used to create them is horribly destructive to the planet and relies on gasoline as its base. You can learn more about PVC HERE.

Additionally, PVC manufacturing generates multiple types of carcinogens. Because 85% of America's fake trees are produced in China, this manufacturing process is even more unregulated and unruly.

We all know how China loves its lead. This love extends to your fake tree. Lead is used to strengthen the otherwise weak PVC. The Children's Health Environmental Coalition has warned consumers that fake trees shed lead-laced dust. That's why your fake tree will probably contain a warning not to inhale or eat any dust or parts that may come loose. So much for eating out of that box of chocolates sitting under your fake tree this year.

Real trees aren't perfect either. Because farmers may use pesticides or fertilizers to improve growth time and crop abundance, real trees could contribute to pollution of lakes and streams. Not to mention the annual waste generated by all those trees dumped on January 2nd.

Your best bet is to buy your real tree from a Farmer's Market where a local farmer can testify to whether the tree was grown organically or with chemicals. After you are done with the real tree, chop it into smaller pieces so it is easier for garbage processing. Go to THIS SITE to find tree recycling areas in your community. If you can, buy your tree at a farm where its roots are still in tact a week before Christmas and re-plant it in your yard after the holidays.

I hope that makes your decision over which Christmas tree to use this year a little easier.

Find out more HERE.


  1. You always provide the most useful environmental tips. I was just debating this very topic the other day. Nicely done :)

  2. Hey! Why bother chopping up the Christmas tree into smaller pieces? Isn't there a way for the tree to go back to the Christmas tree farm for replanting and reuse?