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Oh Christmas Tree!

Oh Christmas Tree!

"Most artificial trees are vinyl Chinese imports (No On Vinyl!), and quite a few contain lead. Christmas party conversation fodder: Christmas d├ęcor is apparently one of the largest categories of Chinese imports."
-Umbra Fisk, "Ask Umbra"

December 5, 2007 —

'Tis the season for many ethical shoppers to ponder that most sacred of December 26th garbage pile garnishes, the Christmas tree. Exactly how much environmental harm does growing a tree that will be used as a decoration for a month at the most do? Are there organic Christmas trees, and if so, would it be better to just buy a non-organic tree grown locally than an organic tree shipped in from three states away?

In a recent column,'s "Ask Umbra" examines these issues up close and explores the viability of fake plastic or aluminum trees as well. A few of her findings:

  • Real is better than fake.
  • Organic trees are become more widespread but aren't grown locally everywhere.
  • Local non-organic is better than non-local organic.



Comment on this article:

Always better?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 10, 2007 - 22:11.

my family has kept their fake tree for almost 11 years now, is that still worse than buying a new one every year for 11 years?

good point

Submitted by Zach on December 11, 2007 - 14:28.

Umbra seems to think that if you're making a decision right now whether to purchase a new fake tree or a real one, that a real one is better. I think a lot of that comes from how terrible the environmental practices of Chinese manufacturers are (especially when large amounts of plastics are involved,) and the environmental costs associated with transporting them from China. That said, if you can get 11 years of use out of any product, it's probably better than the even the greenest of disposable alternatives!

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