‘Tis the season to start looking for the perfect Christmas tree to light up your home for the holidays.
Today, most people consider live trees to be a greener option than artificial trees, which are often manufactured with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a non-biodegradable, petroleum-derived plastic. But before you and the family venture out to the nearest Christmas tree farm to chop down a live tree, consider these more sustainable options.
1. Rent a Live Tree
Many nurseries now offer the option to rent live trees, and some even come fully decorated. The renter simply waters the tree throughout the season, then takes it back to the nursery to be cared for until the next year.
2. Get a Plantable Tree
No Christmas tree-renting nurseries near you? Why not get a tree you can plant? After the holidays, weather permitting, you can plant it outdoors, further lowering your carbon footprint.
3. Decorate an Outside Tree
Decorate your yard and your tree at the same time by decorating a living tree outside. It doesn’t have to be an evergreen tree. It can even be a bush or shrub. Another perk — you get to appreciate the live plant year-round, not just during the holidays.
4. Make Your Own Tree
Make your own “tree” from gathered natural objects. Ask your friends for pruned branches from their Christmas tree, gather fallen branches, driftwood, pine cones, holly branches, and the like. Decorations could include bulbs, home-made ornaments, popcorn and cranberry garland, leftover ribbon, sparkle lights, and more (or less!) to make your own natural Christmas tree/bouquet. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, check out these DIY Christmas tree ideas from BoredPanda.
Don’t Forget to Recycle
If you’re still inclined to get a cut tree, there are several recycling options available. Leftover natural trees can be used for mulch, erosion, habitat creation, and more. Check out our Earth911 Recycling Search to find a recycling option near you.
Feature image: jill111, Pixabay
Editor’s note: Originally published December 2, 2013, this article was updated in November 2018.