Which Type of Christmas Tree Is Best for the Environment?

Wondering which Christmas tree (or Hanukkah bush) is best for the environment? Here's the lowdown.
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Wondering which Christmas tree (or Hanukkah bush) is best for the environment? Here's the lowdown.
christmas tree

Wondering which Christmas tree (or Hanukkah bush) is best for the environment? Here's the lowdown.

The Winner: Live Tree

A live tree comes potted with its roots intact. It's the best choice if you keep it alive and can replant it.

Upside: Live trees emit oxygen, which helps reduce the greenhouse effect.

Downside: It's not easy to keep them alive——they need a lot of water and care.

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Runner-Up: Cut Tree

For every Christmas tree that's harvested, up to three seedlings are planted in its place.

Upside: Many communities have recycling programs that turn trees into mulch. Or you can take your tree to the Boy Scouts, and for a nominal fee they'll drop it right into the woodchipper.

Downside: Unless they're organic, Christmas tree farms use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Third Place: Artificial Tree

Manufacturing artificial trees is usually harmful to the environment, so look for a secondhand tree to reduce the impact.

Upside: The same tree can be reused every year.

Downside: Artificial trees are not biodegradable and can't be recycled, so they end up in landfill. Most are transported from overseas, which contributes to pollution.

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