Dec 2, 2009
Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum, Which One Is Greenest of All :o)
So on balance, what's the greenest Tannenbaum? It depends on a number of factors, including where you live, how you celebrate and precisely what you buy. So there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Going with a real tree? Try to choose something locally and organically grown. You'll cut down on CO2 emissions and help prevent the environmental degradation wrought by pesticides on big conventional operations. Local Harvest features a list of beautiful live Christmas tree providers across the country. If you like, you may even be able to cut your own! When you are finished with your tree, make sure it is converted to mulch or compost.
Going with an artificial tree? Then try to find one made in the U.S., which greatly decreases the chances for contamination with lead or other toxins, preserves domestic manufacturing jobs and reduces shipping. For example, check out Holiday Tree and Trim Co. of New Jersey. If you must get rid of your artificial tree, check with local charities, shelters and churches to see if they can use it. Most recycling programs do not accept them, and they'll take many centuries to degrade in landfills.
Want an even more "clear cut" answer? Buy a living, plantable "bulb" tree. Inside, the tree can wear ornaments and garland, and after Christmas it can be transplanted outdoors. You'll be adding to the planet's lungs and fighting global warming, as well as providing wildlife habitat. If you live in an apartment, or don't have room in your yard for an evergreen, see if you can donate it to someplace in your community.
Or save all your money and simply decorate an outdoor tree for Christmas. True, unless you live in a warm climate, you aren't likely to want to open presents in your yard. But you may be able to decorate a tree that's close enough to a window to set the mood. You can also fashion your own "tree" from natural materials like driftwood, pine boughs, felled branches and the like. You won't be contributing to any new resource use and will be giving your own creativity a chance to flourish.
Your Christmas Tree is just the tip of the iceberg for potential ways to go greener at Christmas, for more information, head on over to TheDailyGreen.