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.


  1. Our tree is artificial because, well, if I wanna see a live fir tree, then I'll go out into my yard. =)

  2. Cool idea about decorating an outdoor tree! I planted one a fir tree in my yard five years ago and it has grown beautifully. That said, if I decorated that tree in my neighborhood, it would be robbed of whatever I put on it... my neighborhood really sucks sometimes.

    and then there's the old adage I am so well-known for for saying... 'Bah! humbug!'


  3. Great tips Ken. I love green talk. :)

  4. I've had the same tree for 17 years. So I imagine I've done my part on not being wasteful. I couldn't bring myself to cut down a real tree, seems like a waste in light of how little it will be used in relation to how long it takes to grow one. Wonderful tips. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. I have used real trees in pots and then planted them, but with kitties in the house that's not such a good idea, so now I use arties. Grinding up real trees for mulch seems like a geat idea, but have you seen the emmissions those grinders belch out? Here on the gulf coast, used christmas trees are collected and planted into the dunes to prevent beach erosion. No griding, no emissions, and they save beaches and decay slowly and naturally. Truly our greenest option!

  6. I WAS going to get an artificial tree for the first time ever this year.... but I think you just changed my mind. I'm thinking a living, plantable tree would be better! Thanks, Ken!


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