Ask Renee: How green is your Christmas tree? 

Real or fake, which is better for the environment?

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Hey Renee,

Which is better for the environment, a real of fake Christmas tree?


Heya, Marty!

I’ll give you real and fake answers, and you can guess which is best.

a) Fake trees are made from plastic and metal which are recyclable materials so they must be great for the environment.
b) Real trees not only smell nice, they are renewable and have many environmental benefits.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

“On average, an artificial tree is used for 7 years before it is disposed of. So if a tree is displayed for 1 month/year, it will have served as a Christmas tree a total of 7 months while remaining in a landfill indefinitely. Even if it were to be used for 20 holiday seasons, it’s still going to end up in a landfill far longer. Live Christmas trees, however, are both a renewable and biodegradable natural resource. On average it takes about 7 years to raise a Christmas tree to marketable size. During that time, it is absorbing carbon dioxide and filtering the air of particulate matter and releasing oxygen. Live Christmas trees are also providing watershed protection and excellent habitat for songbirds and other wildlife.”

If you’re still wondering, real is the most environmentally-friendly way to go.

Go one step further by selecting a tree that is locally grown. The Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association offers lots of information about real trees, as well as a map to locate local tree farms by county.

Have fun decking the halls!

Piece out,


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About The Author

Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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