Wiygul: An Artificial Christmas Tree is Better for the Environment

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Wiygul: An Artificial Christmas Tree is Better for the Environment

Alden Wiygul, Staff Writer

As it grows closer to Christmas, almost every household in America is going to buy some type of tree. Many may get a real Christmas tree, because they like the smell or because it’s a tradition. Real trees, however, can be more harmful to the environment.

This fact will surprise a lot of people because when most think of which would theoretically be better, they would probably think about the real tree decomposing better than the plastic one. This logic would make sense if households only used their fake trees once. However, data collected by the American Christmas Tree Association shows that 85% of people reuse their tree for an average of 11 years.

In this span of 11 years of one household reusing an artificial Christmas tree, another might go through 11 real trees. After Christmas there is nothing to do with that tree except for throw it out.

This leads to millions of trees decomposing in landfills every year. As the trees slowly decompose, they are producing methane that can be harmful over time. So, while artificial trees are much more harmful to the environment than a regular tree, their easily reusable quality means they are generally better to have, and less of them will end up in landfills each year polluting the environment.

All of that is not even mentioning the impact on the environment of removing millions of trees from the Earth for just one day a year. A lot of trees do not get replanted; they just turn into waste.

Another plus for artificial trees is they do not aggravate many people’s allergies. They also do not shed, cost less, and are easier to put up every year. With all of this, the benefits outweigh a number of concerns.

Even though artificial trees can turn out better in the long run, it’s still even more important to choose a tree made out of nontoxic materials. PVC plastic, which is in a lot of trees, can contain lead. There are numerous other options though such as Polyethylene plastic.

Also, a major factor to be concerned about are the trees catching on fire. Some say that artificial trees are more flammable, but they are actually covered in flame retardant. The real cause for concern is that if Evergreens are not watered and get too dry, they can catch fire alarmingly fast if exposed to heat.

The argument of real tree vs. artificial tree is an ongoing one with a lot of sides and conditions to it. This Christmas, however, I would prefer to just pull the same tree that I have used for years out of my attic.

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