Eco-Friendly Christmas Trees: How-To

In the early 20th century, around 98 percent of Christmas trees came from the forest. Today, most Christmas trees are grown on tree farms, which can benefit and harm the environment.

Read below to learn how to enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas tree:

RECYCLE YOUR TREE!

To avoid discarding old Christmas trees in landfills, where they consume much needed space, consider composting or mulching your tree. An old Christmas tree…
* Can be ground up and used as mulch in gardens, on trails, or in animal stalls.
* Can be used as sand and erosion barriers on beaches, streambeds, and lakes.
* Can be sunk into private lakes and ponds, where it provides refuge for fish.
** For more information on recycling your tree, click here!

BUY A TREE WITH ROOTS AND PLANT!
Planting a new Christmas tree after is a great way to leave an eco-friendly legacy. After only a few years, you will have a living reminder of fun and enjoyment in Christmas Past. American Forests provides detailed information about tree planting.

* To potentially reduce air conditioning and heating bill, plant trees strategically near your house to provide cooling shade in the summer and an insulating wind break in the winter.
* Trees clean the air and provide pure oxygen in return.
Planting 30 trees can offset your home and car’s annual contribution to global warming.
* Tree root systems hold in place soil that, if washed away by heavy rains, flow into streams and rivers, making them shallower and causing flooding.
* The EPA claims that planting trees is the best way to reverse the global warming effect.

ECO-BENEFITS OF CHRISTMAS TREE FARMS
* While Christmas trees grow, they replenish the air with oxygen; just one acre of Christmas trees produces enough oxygen to support eighteen people.
* Tree farms provide habitat for birds and other wildlife (However, pesticide use on Christmas tree farms could be decreased for even greater environmental benefits.
* Due to their hardiness, Christmas trees are often planted where few other plants grow, thereby increasing soil stability.
* For each Christmas tree cut on tree farms, 2 or 3 new seedlings are planted.

CHRISTMAS TREES ARE NOT ECO-FRIENDLY WHEN:
* They are discarded with regular trash and end up landfilled or incinerated. Landfilling takes up space, and incineration pollutes the air.
* They are burned in your trash, causing air pollution and creosote buildup.

Care2.com
By Hilary Stamper, Care2 Staff

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64 comments

LMj Sunshine

Good ideas, thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Good ideas, thank you.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad3 years ago

I like the ones you can replant! I hate seeing half dead trees sold at the grocery store with the wooded X's for stands. You know they are not getting any water and are just dying. Then, by the time they are bought and someone is using an old set of lights....I just wait and see all the stories on the news that break my heart because someones tree caught fire and destroyed their home and or possibly lost families.

Roger M.
Past Member 3 years ago

Very good. Thanks.

susan k.
susan k.3 years ago

Thanks

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

thanks

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Interesting article.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Thanks

patricia A.
Pat A.4 years ago

Thanks

Janet D.
Janet D.4 years ago

Nothing replaces the childhood memories of going to pick a real tree at the tree lot on a snowy evening. The smell of evergreen filling the air, the feel of the soft, fresh needles (the blue spruce) when decorating, having to put water in the stand, sweeping the needles up after Christmas. It was wonderful as a child and I'll never forget those memories. As an adult I realize that saving our natural environment is more important than having a natural tree, and that having a fake tree can be a good substitute, but as others said, it eventually ends up adding to environmental trash. A live tree sounds good but not everyone has room to plant it afterward. I have a 3 foot tall rubber plant and I draped a string of lights on that and it looks beautiful. Light a pine scented candle or use a pine scented oil warmer and voila! Christmas magic that helps protect the natural environment.