They come in green, in white, in blue. Some of them have that “new” smell; others smell “genuine.” Which one do you prefer: natural or artificial? We are, of course, referring to Christmas trees. There’s no lack of choice around this time of year, when everyone is doing their best to have their holiday season coincide with everyone else’s. But do you know which kind of tree is the most environmentally friendly?
And the winner is…
No need to be on pins and needles any longer: consulting firm ellipsos, now called Ellio, which specializes in sustainable development, performed a life-cycle analysis to compare the environmental footprints of these two “competing products.” Their impact over each stage of their useful lives was analyzed. The result? The natural pine tree seems to be a greener choice than the artificial, unless the latter is reused for at least… 20 years. But hold on a second—there are some qualifications to that statement. Let’s take a closer look at the analysis.
Shining light on Christmas trees!
Assuming both models are seven feet high, an artificial tree
has a six-year lifespan and is made is China, while a natural tree has grown in Quebec:
- Both trees are almost identical in terms of impact on human health;
- The artificial tree contributes about three times as much to climate change and resource depletion as the natural tree.
The natural tree has another advantage:
But, the artificial tree is almost four times better for ecosystem quality than the natural tree;
In short, your natural Christmas tree’s CO2 emissions are equivalent to a compact car driving 125 km, versus 322 km for an artificial tree.