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Artificial or natural Christmas tree? If you’re green-minded, opt for the latter

Artificial or natural Christmas tree? If you’re green-minded, opt for the latter

That’s the expert advice dished out by researchers from the University of Florence

With the rise of environmental consciousness that affects every aspect of our lives, comes the question of whether it is more sustainable to use natural or artificial Christmas trees. The Department of Agriculture, Food, Environmental and Forestry Sciences at the University of Florence (Italy) has decided to do the research and find out, and according to them, the answer is clear – go natural.

Or, if you are in love with your plastic Christmas tree and love the convenience (and the lack of needles on the carpet) it provides, then at least make sure to use it for 37 years. That’s how long it will take to offset the carbon emitted during its production.

An artificial tree’s carbon footprint is 37 times larger than a living one

The results of the research show that the production of a natural tree involves the emission of 0.522 kg of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent), while an artificial tree with the same dimensional and aesthetic characteristics produces 19.4 kg (CO2e) without even taking into account the transport stages.

Even assuming you change the natural tree every year, the artificial tree should be reused at least 37 times to be able to equalize the impacts with its organic counterpart. If the user were able to make the natural tree survive for longer than 1 year, its impact on the environment would be reduced even more drastically,” explained Professor Giacomo Goli, head of the study team, as quoted by InToscana.

True, in order to reuse a Christmas tree, we would have to adopt a stronger trend of buying potted trees, though, many of us might not have the space, opportunity or knowledge to take care of them for the rest of the year.

A further element of research concerned the economy of mountain areas in Italy for which the production of the Christmas tree represents an important contribution. “By purchasing a natural tree, we not only emit much less climate-altering gases, but we guarantee an income to local populations, and we favour a short supply chain, stimulating a protection of the territory – something that in recent decades is increasingly lacking,” added Professor Goli.

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