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The greener sides of Christmas trees

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Shopping isn’t limited to the indoors during the holiday season. Many celebrating bundle up and buy Christmas trees to decorate as a charming prop for gifts to go under.

The question is, what’s better for the environment: A real tree or a fake tree? Here is the breakdown.

Real Christmas trees, dead or alive, provide fresh air for your home. They’re biodegradable and allow other trees to grow in their decayed matter over time.

Larger companies buy real trees in bulk, which are usually grown using pesticides. Researchers from NCSU have found that increased exposure to chemically treated trees causes small animals and birds to die. If that’s the case, then what are they doing to us?

On the other hand, fake trees are a Godsend for convenience-lovers and the allergic. Many Americans think they’re doing the environment a huge favor by getting fake, reusable trees. That’s really not the case.

Although fake trees will be used year after year, they probably won’t be passed down from generation to generation. Eventually it will have its last Christmas and end up side-down in a landfill.

Many argue that an increased number in purchased synthetic trees could eventually reduce the amount of real ones being chopped down each year. The key word: Eventually.

To back that up, the National Christmas Tree Association claims that more than twice as many Americans purchase real trees than fake trees in 2012. Those stats haven’t changed much from previous years.

Fake trees are looked at as a once-and-done purchase, making these trees friendlier on the green in your wallet than anything else.

Earth Talk says the most eco-friendly option is to buy a live tree (roots attached) from a local farmer, dress it up for the holidays, and re-plant it outside afterwards. The same sapling can be used for years to come, becoming like another relative you see only once a year.

More tips on how to care for a live Christmas tree can be found here: www.livingchristmastrees.org/careinstructions.html

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