The Environmental Impacts Of Christmas Trees

SRHS senior Zayra Escutia takes pride in her environmentally-friendly real tree and the traditions that come with it. “Picking out a tree and decorating it is always a fun way to spend time with family, and I’ve come to appreciate it more under this year’s unusual circumstances.” Escutia’s cat, Tofu, doesn’t seem to have any complaints!
Picture by Zayra Escutia

Article By: Giovi Andreassi

Every year around December comes the time to begin the festivities of the holiday season. For those who celebrate Christmas, this usually means getting and decorating a tree. While some people go to tree farms and pick a real tree, others opt for artificial trees. However, not many people are aware of the environmental impacts of these two options. So which one is better?

Real trees are biodegradable and recyclable. There are many misconceptions about the chopping down of millions of Christmas trees each year, but these trees are actually similar to any other crop, and can be repurposed for mulch, instead of thrown out when January first comes along. 

Artificial trees actually have a worse impact on the climate. They’re made from plastic materials and are shipped from all over the world, and, while reusing them for some years is convenient, they will eventually end up in a landfill. That being said, artificial trees are the cheaper and cleaner option. Not to mention they are usually fire resistant – an important factor in terms of safety and peace of mind. 

Zayra Escutia, a senior at SRHS, has her reasons for having a real Christmas tree rather than an artificial one. She says, “Not only is going out and picking a tree with my family a fun tradition, but it makes me feel better about taking care of the environment. We used to have an artificial tree, but after I did more research and learned that it is actually worse for the environment, we switched to real trees. It might not seem like a super significant change, but with the world constantly facing climate crises among other issues, these small steps towards environmental improvement are really important.”

In the end, there are both pros and cons to artificial and real trees. It is important to always consider the environmental impacts that small choices in one’s life can have. 

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