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The Christmas Tree and Its Carbon Footprint

One of the most eco-friendly options is to choose a tree that can be planted after the holidays. This way, you can enjoy the tree during the Christmas season and then plant it outside to grow for years to come. Another great option is to opt for a locally-sourced tree to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation.

Additionally, purchasing a live potted tree that can be replanted after the holidays is also a great way to reduce waste and minimize environmental impact. When it comes to artificial trees, it’s important to choose high-quality ones that can last for many years to reduce the need for frequent replacements.

As a reminder, if you plan to buy a real tree, make sure to locate a reliable supplier to avoid paying more for a shortage of trees due to supply chain problems or climate change.

For more tips on how to choose an eco-friendly Christmas tree, check out this resource from the National Wildlife Federation:

Christmas tree carbon footprint


Tree farmers use fertilizers and pesticides in multiple ways to promote good tree health while also limiting crop competition with other plants. For instance, growers frequently apply glyphosate (an herbicide commonly used on farms to control grasses and weeds) on walkways between rows of trees in order to eliminate thistles and crabgrass that spread disease.

Numerous Christmas tree farmers are adopting integrated pest management approaches to identify and monitor potential pests as they develop, instead of using toxic chemicals to eliminate them. This has many advantages including helping reduce synthetic pesticides and herbicides that could otherwise harm both the environment and population.

At many farm-grown Christmas tree farms, carbon sequestration in the soil is an integral component of mitigating climate change; one study conducted jointly by researchers from University of British Columbia and Oregon State University demonstrated this fact. Trees can absorb up to one ton of carbon per acre!

This process also helps reduce CO2 emissions associated with harvesting, transport and disposal of Christmas trees. However, it should be remembered that carbon stored by trees at harvest may vary during their lives as some will be released back into the atmosphere while other will be taken up by new trees planted as replacements.

Farming Christmas trees is another benefit that should not be underestimated: wildlife habitat. This contributes to improving ecosystem health while lowering risks associated with climate change – an issue further compounded by global deforestation.

Consumers looking for sustainable Christmas trees should choose trees from local tree farms or organically grown ones – this will support local economies without adding to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

When purchasing a real tree, try and visit its farm of origin as close as possible so you can observe its production process firsthand and make an informed choice regarding which variety suits your preferences best.


Christmas trees have become an indispensable component of the holiday season, providing warmth, light and cheer in our homes while adding an element of fun to our celebrations – yet they come at a significant environmental cost.

Studies by Ellipsos revealed that six-foot artificial trees have an estimated carbon footprint of 40 kg – more than the 16kg absorbed by real Christmas trees (Carbon Trust). Furthermore, their manufacturing requires energy as well as shipping costs which adds additional emissions into their carbon footprints.

Real trees help support local farmers while contributing to healthy forests for future generations. Many farms sequester more than one tonne of carbon per acre; for each tree cut down by them, three new seedlings are planted as replacements.

Growing a Christmas tree from seed requires significant water and nutrients, which makes a real tree often the more sustainable option from an environmental viewpoint.

As such, it is crucial that you select an organic Christmas tree. Doing so will ensure you avoid pesticides and chemicals which could harm the environment.

Just like agriculture, tree cultivation provides jobs and income to many people worldwide – providing needed stability to populations more vulnerable to financial challenges.

Christmas trees also contribute to climate change mitigation by sequestering carbon dioxide in their roots and canopies, with estimates suggesting a typical conifer such as pine or fir can store up to 18 kg of CO2 over its lifespan.

Though many real Christmas trees still use toxic pesticides that harm the environment, this problem can easily be mitigated by opting for organic Christmas trees grown on farms.

Natural Christmas trees can help slow climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide as they grow, however this only works if grown on an organic farm. Unfortunately, many farms use pesticides which are harmful both to the environment and health in these regions.


Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays on our calendar and it is widely accepted that its traditional symbol, a Christmas tree, plays an essential part in this season. While it serves as an inspirational source and represents something special about this period, real trees come with an environmental cost attached.

A Christmas tree’s carbon footprint refers to the amount of CO2 it releases into the atmosphere during production, transportation and disposal. The amount released depends on various factors including type and age of tree as well as how its carcass will be managed once its lifecycle ends.

If the environmental impact of your Christmas tree concerns you, there are a few measures you can take to lower its carbon footprint. First, opt for one made with sustainable materials sourced locally.

Make sure that when purchasing your tree, use eco-friendly packaging. This will reduce carbon emissions while ensuring its recycling when the time comes to dispose of it.

Search for a certified Christmas tree farm that benefits the local environment and offers real trees for purchase. These farms will make an impactful statement about the state of our planet!

Many individuals consider buying a real Christmas tree the more eco-friendly choice; their carbon footprint is much lower compared to artificial trees made of plastic and metal.

Artificial trees still leave a substantial carbon footprint, with most manufactured in China using energy intensive processes and transported across to the US to be sold – this results in additional carbon emissions from transporting them across.

According to the British Carbon Trust, when trees are used as woodwork splinters or for firewood they produce about 3.5kg of CO2, but their carbon footprint increases to 16kg when ending up in landfills.

Leavening trees to decay in landfill waste dumps releases methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Therefore, when choosing artificial trees it is wise to select those with minimal carbon footprint and avoid PVC or harmful chemicals that are predominantly made in China.


Christmas trees are one of the most beloved decorations during this festive period, yet their carbon emissions can have a major impact. Production and transport require significant energy expenditure while gifts purchased for family members also use up precious energy resources. Furthermore, food waste during holiday celebrations often adds additional carbon emissions.

According to The Carbon Trust, natural trees have a lower carbon footprint than artificial ones when properly disposed of. A two-metre natural tree burned, replanted or chipped for garden spread has an estimated average carbon footprint of just 3.5kg of CO2, approximately four and a half times lower than an artificial two-metre tree which typically emits over 10 times more.

However, throwing away a Christmas tree in the trash is the worst possible option for its disposal. Once decomposed and released into the atmosphere, its decomposition produces methane gas which has 25 times more carbon dioxide-equivalent warming potential than carbon dioxide and has been estimated at producing 16kg of CO2, increasing your carbon footprint more than long-term artificial tree owners could do by their carbon emissions alone.

Many cities now offer Christmas tree recycling programs where residents can drop off their real tree for pick-up and collection – an effective way to reduce one’s carbon footprint during the holidays! These services tend to be free.

Placement in a pond or lake provides habitat for aquatic species while simultaneously reducing woody debris in nature landscapes and water bodies, an essential step toward healthy forests and biodiversity.

Donating your old Christmas tree to charity shops or schools is another excellent way to give back while also helping the environment while giving others who may otherwise go without one a gift of their own.