O Christmas Tree, How Eco-Friendly Are You?

Make It a 'Green' Christmas: Choose Real, Then Recycle



Dec 05, 2006, 00:00 ET from A Fresh Squeeze

    CHICAGO, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- It's that time of year again -- let the
 real vs. fake tree debate begin. You've likely considered all the obvious
 factors like cost and aesthetics, but did you think about the impact your
 tree has on the environment? The choice is clear -- buy a real tree and
 recycle it. Then you can feel good for making a contribution to the
 environment this holiday season.
     "One might think that fake trees are the better choice, but the
 opposite is true, since Christmas tree farms provide substantial benefits
 to the environment," says Jenna Rose, managing editor of AFreshSqueeze.com,
 an e-newsletter for living "green" in Chicagoland. "While it may seem
 environmentally insensitive to chop down a tree and decorate it, real trees
 are actually more eco-friendly."
     Artificial trees are usually made of PVC, a plastic that is difficult
 to recycle and contains hazardous chemicals. Last year, over nine million
 plastic Christmas trees were imported from China. So despite being
 reusable, the production and transportation of fake trees is still
 energy-intensive.
     According to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), one acre
 of trees produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. With over
 500,000 acres of Christmas trees in the United States, that translates into
 nine million people a day supplied with oxygen from these trees.
     "Trees have a metabolism like people," says Dawn Peterson, co-owner of
 Oney's Christmas Tree Farm in Woodstock, Illinois. "The younger ones are
 more efficient. So by cutting down and selling the older trees and
 continuously planting, the younger trees do a better job at producing
 oxygen and detoxifying the air."
     For every tree harvested, Oney's, a cut-your-own tree farm, plants
 seven to ten in its place. Peterson says for the 3,000 trees they sell each
 year, they plant 20,000 to 30,000 seedlings.
     Because of the Christmas trees' durability, they are grown in soil that
 would not support other crops. "Out here in McHenry County we are on hilly,
 glacial moraine, which is not good for growing any other types of crop, but
 is good growing farmland for Christmas trees," explains Peterson. "It helps
 keep our area agriculturally based. We really are land stewards, using the
 land most effectively."
     A truly renewable resource, real trees are also recyclable. "Just be
 sure not to toss your real tree out with the trash," says Rose. Rose's
 AFreshSqeeze.com newsletter recommends the website http://www.Earth911.org
 to find out where to recycle trees locally, based on zip codes. Many
 communities have a pick-up service for doing the same. Each January, the
 city of Chicago collects trees at Park District parks and turns them into
 mulch for use in gardens and trails.
     And when it comes to the presents that go under that real tree, don't
 forget to keep it a "green" Christmas by using gift wrap made of recycled
 paper and to reuse wrapping paper and gift bags.
     Do you have a "green" holiday story or tip to share? Tell your story at
 http://www.AFreshSqueeze.com and read more about "green" holiday
 celebrations.
     AFreshSqueeze.com is a free e-newsletter with tips for living green in
 Chicago. Visit them online and sign up for a free subscription to receive
 useful information on green foods, restaurants, home and garden products,
 day trips, and healthy and sustainable living, all with a focus on the
 Chicagoland area.
 
 

SOURCE A Fresh Squeeze
    CHICAGO, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- It's that time of year again -- let the
 real vs. fake tree debate begin. You've likely considered all the obvious
 factors like cost and aesthetics, but did you think about the impact your
 tree has on the environment? The choice is clear -- buy a real tree and
 recycle it. Then you can feel good for making a contribution to the
 environment this holiday season.
     "One might think that fake trees are the better choice, but the
 opposite is true, since Christmas tree farms provide substantial benefits
 to the environment," says Jenna Rose, managing editor of AFreshSqueeze.com,
 an e-newsletter for living "green" in Chicagoland. "While it may seem
 environmentally insensitive to chop down a tree and decorate it, real trees
 are actually more eco-friendly."
     Artificial trees are usually made of PVC, a plastic that is difficult
 to recycle and contains hazardous chemicals. Last year, over nine million
 plastic Christmas trees were imported from China. So despite being
 reusable, the production and transportation of fake trees is still
 energy-intensive.
     According to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), one acre
 of trees produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. With over
 500,000 acres of Christmas trees in the United States, that translates into
 nine million people a day supplied with oxygen from these trees.
     "Trees have a metabolism like people," says Dawn Peterson, co-owner of
 Oney's Christmas Tree Farm in Woodstock, Illinois. "The younger ones are
 more efficient. So by cutting down and selling the older trees and
 continuously planting, the younger trees do a better job at producing
 oxygen and detoxifying the air."
     For every tree harvested, Oney's, a cut-your-own tree farm, plants
 seven to ten in its place. Peterson says for the 3,000 trees they sell each
 year, they plant 20,000 to 30,000 seedlings.
     Because of the Christmas trees' durability, they are grown in soil that
 would not support other crops. "Out here in McHenry County we are on hilly,
 glacial moraine, which is not good for growing any other types of crop, but
 is good growing farmland for Christmas trees," explains Peterson. "It helps
 keep our area agriculturally based. We really are land stewards, using the
 land most effectively."
     A truly renewable resource, real trees are also recyclable. "Just be
 sure not to toss your real tree out with the trash," says Rose. Rose's
 AFreshSqeeze.com newsletter recommends the website http://www.Earth911.org
 to find out where to recycle trees locally, based on zip codes. Many
 communities have a pick-up service for doing the same. Each January, the
 city of Chicago collects trees at Park District parks and turns them into
 mulch for use in gardens and trails.
     And when it comes to the presents that go under that real tree, don't
 forget to keep it a "green" Christmas by using gift wrap made of recycled
 paper and to reuse wrapping paper and gift bags.
     Do you have a "green" holiday story or tip to share? Tell your story at
 http://www.AFreshSqueeze.com and read more about "green" holiday
 celebrations.
     AFreshSqueeze.com is a free e-newsletter with tips for living green in
 Chicago. Visit them online and sign up for a free subscription to receive
 useful information on green foods, restaurants, home and garden products,
 day trips, and healthy and sustainable living, all with a focus on the
 Chicagoland area.
 
 SOURCE A Fresh Squeeze