Have you debated this topic among family and friends? At first glance, some consumers often think an artificial tree that lasts 5-10 years is the better choice to cutting down a tree and throwing it away year-after-year while others are of the opinion that the process to grow a real tree is much simpler. Consider the entire life cycle of both types of trees and the disposal options for both before you decide.

Artificial tree, after production

After being manufactured and assembled in China, a truck transports the artificial Christmas tree from the factory to the harbor in China. It is then transported to a US port on a container ship, then on a truck from the port to a storage facility to a retailer. From the retailer, the customer takes the artificial Christmas tree home in a passenger vehicle. When the artificial tree’s life is over, it is taken to a landfill where it takes 500+ years to decompose.

Real tree, after it is cut down

After a real tree is cut down, it is typically transported home in a passenger vehicle. When the real tree’s life is over, it can be composted or turned into mulch. If a consumer chooses to take it to a landfill, it will take less than six months to decompose.

Sources: WAP Sustainability Consulting, CTFANY, The New York Times

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