Is it better for the environment to buy an artificial christmas tree or to opt for the real thing. This has been a debate for many years but has come to the spotlight in recent years as we are becoming more aware of the impact it has on our environment. Do we  opt for a lifelong plastic tree we can dust off and reuse every year or do we embrace the urge for that real christmas tree smell, buying one freshly felled and dumping it in a landfill in January?


A natural 2 - 2.5 meter christmas tree takes 10-15 years to grow - its carbon footprint is 3.5kg of carbon dioxide equivalent, the same as driving a car for 14 kilometers. Additionally, if your christmas tree is not locally sourced, then the process of transporting it to your home can rack up quite a big carbon footprint. Your christmas tree is then sent to a landfill where it decomposes producing methane (a greenhouse gas)- which is not good for the environment. Many people would also argue that cutting down trees is bad for the environment, however when a christmas tree is cut down, it is immediately replaced by another seedling.


An 2 meter artificial christmas tree will produce 40kg of carbon dioxide in just the manufacturing of the product alone. Many of our artificial christmas trees are made in China, Taiwan and South Korea therefore the shipping of the product will increase its carbon footprint. However an artificial tree can be reused for at least 10-12 yrs.


To conclude, a 2 meter christmas tree made from plastic has a carbon footprint measuring around 40kg of carbon dioxide, more than 10 times greater than a properly disposed of real tree. Buying a real christmas tree for 10 years and buying a fake one to last 10 years, it will roughly produce the same amount of greenhouse gases.