Demystifying the impact of the natural tree on the environment
Any product that is on the market can count on lots of admirers and critics. The natural Christmas tree is not spared by the rule and is also the subject of a few persisting urban legends that one must demystify before making a clear choice. Let’s take these preconceived opinions one by one.
Cutting Christmas trees is threatening our forests
Even if some consumers rarely go hunting for a natural tree in the woods, without considering the potentially negative effect of their acts on the environment, most balsam fir available on the market when the holiday season approaches come from farms where they are grown expressly for that purpose. On these farms, the trees have been planted, cared for, cut and replaced by other small balsam transplants as soon as they were harvested. They do not in any way hurt the environment.
On the contrary, they added to it during all those years where they were growing. We do not see people being against growing tomatoes because we know that the gardener will replace them by other plants. The Christmas tree growers behave exactly the same way. Their culture is a renewable one.
Buying an artificial tree helps saving a real tree
This all depends on various points of view. By choosing to buy a natural tree that will be immediately replaced by a new young transplant, the impact is almost zero. The production of Christmas trees is a production like any other one. You plant with harvesting in mind. Going for an artificial tree all neatly wrapped in a big cardboard box and often shipped some ten thousands of kilometers before reaching the shelves of the large stores retailing them does not seem that much more ecological when you stop to figure it out.
The artificial tree allows you to consume intelligently
Many studies tend to demonstrate on the contrary, that most consumers of artificial trees keep their tree six to nine years before getting another one. Some Canadian researchers have even calculated that to make the environmental costs in the production of artificial Christmas trees comparable to those of the natural trees, consumers would have to use them during at least twenty years before tossing them in the dump. Even then, contrarily to natural trees, which can easily be composted, the artificial trees simply end up in the landfill, without any possibilities of ever being recycled.
On the other hand, the natural Christmas trees are totally and entirely recyclable and biodegradable. As a matter of fact, most Quebec municipalities have set up Christmas tree recuperations program just after the holidays. Their artificial counterpart on the other hand will then end up buried in the landfill site without any possibilities of even being reused in the environment. As for the natural trees, they will be used to decorate municipal flowerbeds as mulch or the mulch will be offered to citizens in composting bags. One way or the other the natural Christmas trees will eventually be recuperated in the environment.
Christmas trees cost too much
The same as many other consumed products; the Christmas tree can be bought at various prices. All depends on what you are looking for and where you will purchase it. Prices are established according to different criteria that you must bear in mind when you go shopping for your tree: who was the retailer, when was the tree harvested, what variety is it, what is its size and even what date it was when you were shopping for one. In fact, you could easily pay between $20 and $70 for a Christmas tree. It is up to you to set your budget and stick to it.
Christmas trees are covered with pesticides and fertilizers of all kinds.
The use of pesticides and fertilizers is strictly regulated in Canada and Christmas tree growers must abide by these rules. Furthermore, one must not forget that most growers and their families live on the farms used for growing the trees that you will buy. Their children grow up there, employees work there. Never would they risk the health of these people and the consumers. Like all agricultural producers, the Christmas tree growers need be mindful of the environment because the same environment allows their trees to grow to maturity. Therefore, it is in their interest to use treatments carefully to preserve the environment.
Christmas trees need much care
O.K. You might have a few needles to pick up and add a few litres of water daily into the base of your tree stand. But this small effort is a trade off for the warm ambiance of the good old days where the whole house would smell Christmassy. Besides, not all species of Christmas trees lose their needles in the same manner. Some are more resistant to heat depending on the length of time since they were harvested. The important fact is to make sure that your tree will not run out of water as long as it is in your house. Do not forget, when comes time to set it up, to make sure to place a bag at the base for removal after Christmas. Simply pull it up and tie it with the tree in it then you can slide it out without any mess. So simple for a hassle free Christmas bringing back souvenirs of your childhood while enjoying the feeling of doing a concrete gesture for the environment.
The natural Christmas tree offers you many environmental advantages not to be neglected. Spread the word around!