Christmas trees vs Sustainability: better fake or real ones?2 min read

Christmas trees vs Sustainability: better fake or real ones?2 min read

Christmas is coming and all around the world, it’s time to start decorating trees. Until a few years ago it would never have crossed anyone’s mind to talk about sustainability as the main topic in this holiday season.

But even the trees, as well as the other elements surrounding Christmas, must be reviewed and rethought from an ESG perspective.

So the question is: better a real tree or a fake tree to help the environment?

Surprisingly the answer is: it depends.

Generally, CO2 is produced to create an artificial tree. Furthermore, a fake tree requires more energy than producing a real one, and in addition, is not being recyclable. But that doesn’t mean the best choice is a fake tree.

Voluntary organizations and charities may well accept them if they are in good condition.

On the other hand, also the idea that cutting down trees for Christmas is less eco-friendly must be debunked. Because like any other crop, they are replaced once they are harvested.

The main driver to bear in mind is the turnover rate. The Carbon Trust says that a fake tree has to be used for 10 years for it to have a lower footprint than a real one.

So if you plan to replace the tree every year, real spruce is better.

Then there are also ethical and social arguments to evaluate. Most of the fake trees are produced in China, where the product is made with electricity and then shipped all over the world (with additional CO2 emissions). There are those who argue that buying a grown Christmas tree also helps local economies as well as the environment.

Image credits: Buvrix27 from Pixabay

Finally, when the holiday season ends, it is also necessary to think about how to dispose of a real tree. A tree left to decompose in landfills releases CO2 whilst also producing methane. Of course, burning or chipping trees can reduce this carbon footprint.

Obviously, if you already have a Christmas tree, stick with it, make good use of it so as to serve the cause: to be environmentally friendly.

Here you can find other top tips for a more sustainable Christmas:

Happy holidays! And let’s think about the environment when making every choice even during this cheerful period. Every little step counts.

Featured image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Giuseppe Perrone

Author and initiator of TwentyNow. ESG Manager in a tech unicorn after a 10 year experience in a big4 consulting firm. Travel lover, (former) basketball player, (current) outdoor basketball fighter. I love also mountain biking and running. I had the idea of creating TwentyNow to bring out the latest ESG trends and sustainability initiatives on a global scale, implemented by companies or bring forward by individuals.