Thursday, December 6, 2012

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!: Which is healthier for your dog and the environment?

Every year we get a lot of emails asking...'which is more environmentally friendly, a real or artificial Christmas tree?'

Ahhhh, the age old question. There are several ways to think about which may be better not only for the environment, but for the health of you and your dog too!

Some pros and cons...

Artificial tree pros:

  • Artificial trees can be used year after year, saving a precious tree from being cut down and quickly discarded.
  • No water is needed to maintain an artificial tree.
  • Artificial trees save money over time, in purchasing trees and local transportation costs.

Artificial tree cons:

  • Most artificial trees are manufactured utilizing metals and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are non-biodegradable, petroleum-based plastics, and most are imported from China which creates a high carbon footprint, and more expense overall. Some older versions may also contain lead. 
  • This means that they are not recyclable and will sit in a landfill long after we are gone from our planet.

Real trees pros:

  • Most trees that your purchase from roadside stands, grocery stores and home improvement stores come from Christmas tree farms, where they maintain sustainable practices by replanting their farms every year to satisfy demand for years to come.
  • More trees planted means increased environmental health for our planet by cleaning the air.
  • If you purchase from a local tree farm you are supporting local businesses within your community.
  • And the most important part is real trees are recyclable (through treecycling) and utilized for a wide variety of uses locally. And they can be utilized as mulch for your garden, or compost material.

Real tree cons:

  • It's possible that your local tree farm may utilize harmful chemicals, pesticides and insecticides if they aren't growing organically.
  • There is an increased cost for you from purchasing a new tree, year after year. Unless of course you live in the mountains with lots of land like we do, and have plenty of pine trees right out your back yard that are perfectly suitable for use as a Christmas tree.
  • Real trees can be messier and do require water for maintenance.

So what is our choice and recommendation after weighing the pros and the cons?

We recommend purchasing a real tree from a local organic tree farm!

With this option you will not be exposing your family and your dog (and pets) to any unnecessary and dangerous chemicals. And as your tree grows in preparation to adorn you home, you will be contributing to cleaner air. In addition, overall there is a reduced carbin footprint and you won't eventually be contributing to landfills.

Once Christmas is over, either get out your wood chipper and shred your tree, utilizing it for mulch for your flower beds and gardens; or participate in the thousands of treecycling programs to help create mulch for your local playgrounds, hiking paths and community landscaping. To find treecycling programs in your area, search

Images courtesy of trekkyandy, noricum, anneh632 and sdminor81 on Flickr.


  1. I think we're going to buy a tree this year. I've been trying to get my boyfriend to invest in an artificial tree, but we never do and the more I learn the less I want to go this route.

    We have yet to buy a tree, because my boyfriend gets them for free most years (we live in a rural area where this is possible).

    I like your idea of taking them out of your own yard. We live on 5 acres and have several "Christmas" trees, but they've grown to big for us to bring in doors.

  2. We have opted for the artificial tree for many of the reasons you have cited. The primary reason is cost.

    We bought ours and have now had it for five Christmases. You are probably talking $50 a year for a tree so that is a total cost of $250. We bought ours for $115. Therefore, it has already paid for itself.

    Plus...I like the convenience of it. We go to the garage...bring it out and have it up in about 15 minutes. No need to go to a lot or farm to buy the tree, deal with the picking, purchasing, tie down, take down...drag into the house...pine needles everywhere.

    And then there is the fact that trees can die pretty quickly if you aren't careful. And removing dead trees SUCK! LOL


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