Xmas trees & when all that glitters

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 pm, December 11th, 2007 - 11 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:


It was once a matter of personal preference. Now it’s part of the sustainability story.

Do you prefer the uniform shape, colour, ease of the plastic fantastic, or was the distinctive aroma of pine sap and rustle of pine needles a defining characteristic of your Xmas experience? Well now there’s the ethical question to add & as living rooms fill up around the county which option is better for the planet?

The Observer asks:

Should we give fake trees the chop?

They spend a season or two in your living room, and a lifetime in landfill. Lucy Siegle turns out the lights on artificial trees.

Christmas is surrounded by myths. We’ll just confine ourselves with debunking one here today: that fake trees are a more ecologically sound totem of the festive season than their real, predominantly Norwegian spruce, counterparts.

We can see why it arose in the first place. The real Christmas tree has had rotten environmental press: badly grown, in a monoculture that leaches all nutrients from the soil. Some growers have resorted to pesticides and even apparently colourants to spruce up firs ready for the small window of sales opportunity.

Here’s the link to the full article.

11 comments on “Xmas trees & when all that glitters”

  1. insider 1

    AM I going to have to buy carbon credits to get a Xmas tree in future? What if I only get a branch?

  2. Robinsod 2

    I think you may have the wrong end of the stick there, insider…

  3. the sprout 3

    it’ll take him a while to twig

  4. Robinsod 4

    Well maybe if we needle him a bit more he’ll leave.

  5. Robinsod 5

    Shit, I’m really, really sorry for that…

  6. the sprout 6

    no he’s too much of a sap to branch out

  7. dancer 7

    climate change legislation (including the emissions trading scheme) is on the list to get it’s first debate in the House. let’s see if they embrace the xmas theme…

  8. insider 8

    No need to apologise Robinsod, I thought they were hilarious. Just like reading Asterix again.

    It does have a real underlying question, will there be a charge for deforestation of Xmas trees under the ETS?

  9. Nick C 9

    “Christmas is surrounded by myths”

    A question, is this a subtle hint that you are an atheist?

    Also isnt it rather enviromental dogma to suggest that we should regulate tradition for the sake of the enviroment (not to mention the precident that it sets)? We arent burning tonnes of coal here, its just a few plastic christmas trees.

  10. Phil 10

    “A season or two in the living room”


    My plastic tree is damn near as old as me. The one my parents have could have come from the Ark, yet they still look great covered in the same old tinsel and decorations year after year.

    Lets get real shall we? Just how many trees are ACTUALLY dumped?

    I’m sure there are a lot more productive ways we could be doing our bit for the environment that worrying about this… It doesn’t do real environmental issues any credit.

  11. dancer 11

    btw – just heard an item on radionz this morning on this very topic!

    “Natural or Plastic? What xmas tree is best for the environment.” For audio go visit http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport (it was on at 8.24am)

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