It’s a question on a lot of minds at this time of the year; is it better for the environment to cut down a tree or buy one that can be reused year after year? The short answer – get a real tree! From purchase to disposal, it is the greenest option.
There is one exception. If you already own an artificial tree, then reusing that tree for as long as possible is the best way to keep it out of the landfill. Most fake trees are comprised of non-recyclable materials so when you are done with it, it becomes waste. After Christmas, real trees can be recycled by the municipality and turned into a woodchip mulch that is used in many of our parks to keep our trees healthy and attractive. For an even greener option, Living Green suggests keeping the cut tree in your backyard for the remainder of the winter to help provide shelter for birds.
Purchasing a new artificial tree increases carbon emissions and contributes to climate change. Not only are they made of plastic, but nearly 90% of these artificial trees are manufactured overseas and are shipped to North America from China. Buying local means buying a real tree.
Real trees also help fight climate change. Tree farms grow crops of trees. The trees were never planted with intent to grow a forest. As a farming crop, trees are one of the best for the environment. As trees grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the air storing it as carbon and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. In Ontario, many tree farms are on marginal croplands; so, keeping these lands in tree production is a great land use. Because tree crops take years to grow, they are always in rotation. Every year, the number of trees that were cut are replanted. As well, purchasing a real Christmas tree means you are supporting local farmers.
Living Green Barrie is taking this concept to the next level. Through the Holiday Tree Fundraiser we are selling live potted trees that can be planted the following spring. There are a variety of native species available that are important food and shelter sources for many birds and small mammals. The proceeds from the tree sales go to their 10,000 Trees for Barrie campaign. This means that buying a tree from Living Green will ensure even more trees are planted. These are trees that won’t be cut but will grow to make the city a cleaner and greener place to live.
This year, we are offering free contactless delivery to Barrie. To purchase your trees, please visit our online store. Prices start at $40. Thank you for your support!
Andee Pelan, ISA Certified Arborist
Director – Living Green Barrie