recycle-your-christmas-treeBy Bethany Clark
Trees Atlanta

It goes without saying that the Christmas tree is a holiday staple for millions of people during the winter holidays. Many can’t even imagine a Christmas without glittering ornaments, twinkling lights, and maybe a few strings of popcorn draped lovingly across a stately evergreen tree.

Ahh, but then the question comes down to the evergreen itself: each year, many people feel a little conflicted about whether to purchase a fake tree or a real tree.

On one hand, they wonder: “should we go with an artificial tree that will last us years, always look perfect, and will spare a real evergreen from being cut down?” Even Macy’s decided to go with a giant artificial tree for its “Great Tree” at Lenox Square this year.

On the other hand, they wonder: “should we buy a real tree, which was grown on a tree farm, help the local economy, and enjoy the je no se quai that a real tree adds to the holiday?”

Whatever you choose is up to you, but if you were wondering what your favorite local tree-planting non-profit, Trees Atlanta, thinks about it, let us tell you that we support you getting a real tree!

Surprised?

Well, it is true, we’re in favor of planting trees whenever possible. But in all actuality, buying real Christmas trees does support tree planting, and has many other benefits as well.

  • Real Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable resource.
  • There are approximately 30-35 million real Christmas trees sold in North America every year. Christmas tree farmers plant more than 60 million new seedlings post-harvest.
  • Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, 80 percent of artificial trees are manufactured in and shipped from China.

Given that real trees are systematically grown, harvested, and often recycled through chipping programs like “Bring One for the Chipper,” Trees Atlanta advocates real trees during Christmas-time.

Also keep in mind that here in Georgia, October through March is the perfect time to get out there and plant trees. So if you really feel conflicted about using a real tree during the holidays, consider volunteering with Trees Atlanta to plant trees? Not only will this offset your holiday tree usage, it’ll work off any lingering Thanksgiving and Christmas calories! A win for you, and a win for the earth.

Learn more at treesatlanta.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Christmas Trees: Real vs. Fake”

  1. Several major studies have concluded that neither a real or an artificial Christmas tree has a significant impact on the environment. So enjoy your holiday with either, or better yet, one or more of each! The more Christmas trees, the merrier.

  2. Several major studies have concluded that neither a real or an artificial Christmas tree has a significant impact on the environment. So enjoy your holiday with either, or better yet, one or more of each! The more Christmas trees, the merrier.

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