When it comes to Christmas, there are many different ways to signify the season. One popular choice is to get a Christmas tree. But which is better for the environment, a real or fake Christmas tree? If you're looking for an eco-friendly option, you can do a few different things.
This is a question that many people ask around this time of year, especially if you’re taking stock of what you need for a zero-waste Christmas. So let's take a look at the pros and cons of each option to help you choose the most sustainable option for your home.
We'll also be sharing a list of eco-friendly Christmas trees to choose from.
Related: For a range of gift ideas perfect for around the base of a tree, check out our recommendations for eco-friendly stocking stuffers, and swing by our Christmas quotes to get you in the mood for a merry Christmas.
In this section, let's take a quick look at the environmental benefits and harms of real (living) Christmas trees vs. artificial (fake) Christmas trees. Read on to answer “are fake Christmas trees bad” and whether live or fake wins out.
Okay... so the last one isn't true. But even with all the points above, it is not 100% conclusive that choosing a living Christmas tree proves better for the environment. As we can see, choosing a real tree still has some consequences. However, in most cases, it is better to go for a living tree over a fake one.
Here are some cases in which you can use an artificial Christmas tree:
Real trees are the most sustainable Christmas tree options, provided they are grown sustainably and locally. So go for one if you can. Local Christmas tree farms are typically small, family-run businesses that care greatly about properly growing and harvesting trees. They usually use sustainable growing practices, such as planting new trees to replace harvested ones.
In addition, Christmas tree farms often use organic methods to care for their trees, such as using natural pest control instead of chemicals.
Before you purchase a Christmas tree from a local farm, ask about their approach to eco-friendliness and growing with care. You can also ask if they can sell you a potted Christmas tree so you can continue to grow it after the Christmas season.
Buying from a nearby farm also supports local businesses in your community - you create jobs. So this holiday season, consider getting your Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm!
These farms also offer a great place to get into the Christmas spirit. Nothing says "Christmas is here," like walking between rows of beautiful Christmas trees.
Also, look around locally as a growing number of companies offer live tree rental or a potted tree they take back after the holiday season.
Oncor has been manufacturing unlit artificial Christmas trees from recycled PVC plastic since 1980. Oncor makes Christmas trees using 100% recycled PVC plastic instead of new plastic, reducing the use of fossil fuels in the production process and reusing a readily available material.
They offer trees in different shapes, colors, and sizes. Their most popular offerings include the Black Forest and Frosted Silver Fir trees.
Oncor trees are made from high-quality raw materials and parts, ensuring a minimum 30-year lifespan. The company's green boxes are made of recycled cardboard, allowing consumers to reuse them for storage after Christmas. Oncor designs these trees and their packaging to reduce the environmental impact of your Christmas celebration.
Spira Large is a sustainable Christmas tree made of laser-cut plywood and a wooden stand. It winds into a beautiful spiral and stands at 138cm. The whole tree can be assembled and disassembled quickly and comes packed in 5 cm/2 in a high cardboard box.
Spira Large is an eco-friendly, minimalistic, modern Christmas tree that adds a unique touch to any interior. It will last for many years, and it's the perfect choice for those who want to decorate in a stylish, eco-friendly way.
Admire The Wood offers wooden Christmas trees made from sustainable, natural materials. Its founders started the company so people don't have to buy a new tree every year and then throw it away.
They offer four Christmas tree types, each in five different sizes. You can change the configuration of the branches and give the form you like. You can rotate the branches around their axis, so different appearance variations are available to you – chaotic, spiral, waves, etc.
Admire The Wood's Christmas trees fit classic toys and other decorations. A wooden tree is a different and delightful experience, so your guests and loved ones will not remain indifferent at the sight of such a Christmas tree.
When it comes to Christmas trees, there are many options to choose from. You can go with artificial ones, natural trees, or even recycled ones. No matter your choice, make sure it's the most eco-friendly Christmas tree available to you. You should also decorate your tree in an eco-conscious way. This will help reduce the waste produced during the holiday season and keep your home festive and shiny without harming the environment.
Alabi, O. & Ologbonjaye, Kehinde & Awosolu, Oluwaseun & Alalade, Olufiropo. (2019). Public and Environmental Health Effects of Plastic Wastes Disposal: A Review. Journal of Toxicology and Risk Assessment. 5. 10.23937/2572-4061.1510021.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.