Friday, November 23, 2007

 
posted by Sarah Krasley @ 3:45 PM
Yes. I'm as bad as your neighborhood drug store--there are still Thanksgiving leftovers in your refrigerator and there's still quite a bit left of your long weekend, and here I am pushing you to go out and spend moola to revive our sputtering economy. Cue song.

I just ordered some decorations (I did my part for our GDP), and got to thinking about what I would hang the little lovelies on this year. Is the more sustainable choice a real tree or an artificial one? The image and lovely aroma of a fresh tree is definitely a warm fuzzy, however the good feelings exit quickly when these images flash through my mind.

Trees

I was pleased to read that there are many benefits to natural trees over artificial ones. Artificial trees are produced with petroleum-based products and require quite a bit of energy to manufacture. They also are often manufactured in China which means transportation from the factory to you produces a considerable amount of emissions versus your locally grown tree.

In contrast, real trees come from Christmas tree farms which means a lumberjack doesn't go into an old growth forest and chop one down. Christmas tree farms are usually cited in areas where not much else grows, so their time is put to use well lowering emissions before they come to be decorated in homes for the holidays.

While artificial trees can be used year after year, real trees can be used but once...or can they? For those in temperate climates with outdoor space, an option might be to go with a potted tree instead of a cut one.

For city dwellers who have but a square of fire escape at their disposal, most metropolitan areas have great recycling programs for trees---complete with mulching services that help nourish city parks. Earth 911 has compiled a great resource for this here. My personal favorite is Mulchfest in NYC. Can someone please turn this into a concert? Please?! How great would it be if your ticket was your sad old holiday tree? Mulchfest could give Coachella a run for its money, for sure!

Lights

Take a cue from Rockefeller Center, go LED. The U.S. Department of Energy says if everyone switched their normal holiday light strings with the LED variety, at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity (i.e. a whole lot) would be saved in a month. Please listen to them. They are smart. Here are some LED options.

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