Artificial plastic trees would need to be kept for many years to ensure that the carbon emitted in their production is saved. However, most of them head to landfill within a few years. Steve Mitchell, a lecturer on sustainability issues at the University of British Columbia, stated, "Artificial trees need to be kept for 20 years for the carbon emissions to be equivalent to using natural trees." He cited evidence from a study carried out by sustainability consultancy Ellipses in 2009.
FRA's analysis partner, Peter Collins, said, "There are, of course, many choices to make when it comes to buying a real tree, with some options being more eco-friendly than others. However, providing you choose a Christmas tree from a sustainable plantation, you are likely to make a greener choice than if you go with an artificial tree."
FRA claims that it is always a good idea to try to buy your Christmas tree from as close to your home as possible, to minimize the carbon emissions from the transport of the tree. Wild trees can be an option for some people, but it's recommended that you check the local laws on using wild trees in your area.
Another green option is to buy a Christmas tree with a root ball still attached so that it can continue to grow after Christmas. "Planting your Christmas tree in your yard after the festive season is over is a lovely thing to do and you might even get more than one Christmas out of the same tree," added Mr Collins.
FRA supports sustainable forestry investment and proved research and advisory services for those thinking of investing in forestry or timberland, through firms like Greenwood Management, which operates sustainable Christmas tree plantations in Canada.
About Forestry Research Associates
Forestry Research Associates is a research and advisory consultancy that focuses on forestry management, sustainability issues and forestry investment around the globe.
Forestry Research Associates
620 Vineyard Lane
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 316 8394