How Environmentally Sustainable Is the Christmas Tree Industry?

How Environmentally Sustainable Is the Christmas Tree Industry?
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This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Darshan Shankar, Entrepreneur, Y Combinator Alum

Real trees are significantly better for the environment.

Benefits of real trees:

  • An acre of fir trees can consume 12,000lbs of CO2. [1]
  • For every Christmas tree cut down, tree farms plant one to three new trees to protect and maintain a healthy supply. [2]
  • Trees are usually planted in otherwise unusable areas such as barren slopes, making them a good use of land.
  • 85% of fake trees are made in China. Trees you buy at a local tree lot usually come from tree farms in your state. Not only does this help local US businesses, but this cuts down on the carbon footprint. [4]
  • Fake trees are made out of petroleum-based plastics and are obviously not biodegradable. Additionally, fake trees can have dangerous chemicals and lead on them. Real trees are biodegradable. When you throw it out, it does no harm to the environment.
  • Fake trees are actually more of a fire hazard.
  • Fake trees have one benefit: reusability. If you reuse a tree for fifteen to twenty years, you'll start to break even on the environmental impact.


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