Savvy Earth Savers
Christmas Tree


OH Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree!
 
Is it better to get a real or fake tree for Christmas? The answer may seem obvious, when it comes to the environmental impact. But there are a few different issues to consider.
 
Let’s start with fake trees. The major downside is that they are made from plastic and are shipped in from far away, usually China, where most of them are produced. An artificial tree is more energy intensive to produce than a real one and is not recyclable, so will languish in landfill for years and years.
 
Real trees, on the other hand, can be bought locally and replanted or recycled.

Hong Kong imported some 22,000 Christmas trees last year, with the majority coming from the United States, Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department figures show.
 
And while the idea of cutting down trees doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly, Christmas trees are like any other crop and are replaced once they are harvested. Nordmann Firs – which are the most popular Christmas tree – and other varieties are also doing the job of absorbing carbon from the air while they’re growing, which is hugely important in the fight against emissions.
 
If there’s one upside to artificial trees, however, it’s that they can be reused. One study found that if a household reuses a plastic tree for up to five years, it’s carbon footprint will be smaller than a household that buys a real tree every year. So if you have an artificial tree hang on to it, and make good use of it.
 
If having a real tree for Christmas is a long-standing tradition in your house, there are a few things to consider before buying. It’s important to recycle a real tree so that it doesn’t end up in landfill.
 
The Environmental Protection Department has a Natural Christmas Tree Recycling Programme which collects old trees. Or, if you’ve opted for a more local variety, you can also replant it inside in a pot, and maybe use it again next year.
 
The environmental impact of both real and fake trees is relatively small in terms your overall yearly carbon footprint. But hey, we’re Savvy Earth Savers – so this is the kind of stuff we think about!
 
 

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2019-12-13 by Cruzanne Macalligan
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