The question has been asked several ways and debated for years, what is the most Environmentally Sustainable Artificial Christmas Tree?   Is an artificial Christmas tree or real tree more Environmentally Sustainable than an Artificial Christmas Tree? The answer might seem obvious but let’s dig deeper into this question to determine what type of Christmas tree is the most environmentally sustainable.

At first glance it would seem logical that a real tree grown from tree farms would be the most environmentally sustainable Christmas tree but this might not be the case.  The downside of a real tree is that a new one is required each year. The old trees end up in landfills in most cases. According to a recent New York Times article, real Christmas trees have a bigger impact on greenhouse emission, water and energy use then artificial Christmas trees. So are artificial Christmas trees  more environmentally sustainable then real trees? They might be but let’s look at the argument against them.  The drawback to artificial Christmas trees is they are made of plastic and not made from recycled materials.  Nearly 10 million artificial Christmas trees are purchased in the USA each year.  According to USA Today, 90 percent of these trees are manufactured in China and shipped across the world resulting in an increase in carbon emissions.

The definitive answer to this question of what Christmas tree is most environmentally sustainable seems to boil down to how long you use and reuse your artificial Christmas tree.  According the Artificial Christmas Tree Association (A.C.T.A), artificial Christmas trees have a lower environmental impact if your reuse the tree five or more year  . Although the length of time you need to reuse your artificial Christmas tree is debated, there is consensus that an artificial Christmas tree becomes a more environmentally friendly and sustainable the longer you use the tree.

The debate on what is the most environmentally sustainable Christmas tree was made clear when the Modern Christmas Tree was made available in 2012.  This modern version of an artificial Christmas tree are now made in America reducing the carbon emissions associated with traditional artificial Christmas trees imported from China.  Further reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint is the mater.  Although the rings are made of acrylic like traditional artificial Christmas trees, there is significantly less material used in manufacturing these unique trees.  The trees are made of concentric rings made of a single sheet of plastic reducing material and eliminating waste.