Having finally sold out of our last Christmas tree I was left pondering the environmental impact of the two choices. I have to say personally I prefer real trees both for the scent and the traditional aspect however when you see some of the artificial ones they are tempting.
The Irish grown Noble or Nordman Fir comes with a good pedigree and according to the Irish Christmas Tree Growers Association when they are grown and cultured in Ireland there is that special knowledge that we are supporting nature and the environment. Our own trees come locally from a Christmas tree farm in Killarney so have a low carbon footprint in terms of the road miles. It is also claimed that an acre of Christmas trees provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people. As real Christmas trees are biodegradable they can easily be recycled for mulch. Look up www.christmastree.org/recycle2.cfm#wildlife for details of more imaginative uses.
So all in all real trees do seem to make more sense environmentally particularly as plastic trees are made from the same material used in plastic bags which is well documented as being resistant to the natural process degradation. The new LED artificial trees can make the claim of being more energy efficient and of course they do not require watering. However it would take over twenty years of use of the same artificial tree before it would become a better environmental solution and what with our current bin and replace culture this is unlikely to be achieved.
For now I will enjoy my tree with a glass of vino until it is time to take that crispy old tree to our local recycling centre.