18 December 2007

Not All Christmas Trees are Green

In case you are wondering whether a real Christmas tree is eco-friendlier than a fake plastic tree- here is the answer.

Despite some obvious advantages of having a fake tree, like re-usability (one tree can serve many years), non-prickling and perfect shapes, the fact that fake trees are almost always made from PVC does definitely not make them an eco option.

If you have to have a tree, go for the real ones. After all, Nature’s trees have been fully cradle to cradle designed and come with a special CO2-reducing feature. However, since having a Christmas tree implies chopping down a living one, make sure they come from somewhere where new trees are planted every year. Your local small-scale grower is definitely the best option. After the festivities, make sure your tree gets disposed of correctly. If you live in a city, watch out for Christmas recycling facilities that turn the trees into compost. In Barcelona you can find over 218 collection points between January 7-14 all around town.

Living in the Gothic area in Barcelona, we went to the flower stalls on Las Ramblas and bought a tree branch we put into a pot with water for it to keep its needles longer. We asked the flower vendors if they new where the branches of the Christmas trees had been gown. Most didn’t know, some guessed they came from Catalonia and only two could confirm they were locally grown. Our branch is from Espinelves, around 90km north of Barcelona.

Read Grist’s in-depth article about Christmas trees here. “There’s always the option of not having a tree at all”, says Umbra Fisk from Grist: “Have you thought about having no tree and living vicariously through the trees of others, decorating a living exterior tree, decorating a house plant, or making your own tree as an ambitious crafts project?”

Also check out TreeHugger’s How To Pick A Christmas Tree and, in case you are still shopping for presents, the TreeHugger 2007 Gift Guide.

Special thanks to Anita and Julia for hand-making our Christmas tree decoration.

And Merry Christmas to all our readers!

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