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Friday
Dec242010

The Great Christmas Debate: A Real Tree or a Fake One?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Millions of Americans swear by artificial Christmas trees, arguing that they are easier to deal with and better for the environment. Traditionalists say that's ridiculous. And a Canadian environmental firm says it's not even true.

The firm calculated the greenhouse gas emissions from both types and discovered that you would have to reuse an artificial tree for more than 20 years for it to be greener than cutting down a real one every year.

While Americans chop down 30 million trees each year, the real trees can be recycled. Last year, New York City composted and mulched 150,000 Christmas trees. Americans buy about 13 million fake trees every year, which often end up in landfills.

Advocates of fake trees say the smell of a real tree can be replaced with pine spray. They cite convenience as an advantage – not having to haul a tree into your house every year, water your tree or vacuum up pine needles.

"Compared to the environmental impact of normal daily activity, neither type of tree – real or artificial – has a significant environmental impact," said Thomas Harman, CEO of Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Company, the leading specialty brand of artificial Christmas trees. "The main reason for the growth in artificial tree sales in the last 10 years is that with true needle technology, they look and feel like real trees. You get the convenience and safety of an environmental tree." 

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ABC News Radio