The Green Blog
To Tree or Not to Tree?
You might be wondering what is the best way to make your holiday season as green as possible. Many people believe that using artificial trees, thereby saving real trees from being cut down, is the best way to go. Others point out that artificial trees end up in landfills, whereas real trees can be used for mulch or at least will decompose naturally.

Even the experts disagree on this debate. Some say a live tree is better, as the majority of fake firs are made from a hidden form of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which we all know isn't good for us or the environment. And lead is also used in the making of these trees; again, something to consider, especially if you have small children or pets in your home.

If you're opting for a live tree this season, we would recommend you find one grown without pesticides and consider purchasing a tree that you can replant in your yard after the holidays.

These live trees need to have their root ball intact and should be planted immediately after the holiday. However, this can be a tricky proposition. "The roots must be professionally packed; they need time to acclimate to warm indoor temperatures; they need to be gradually reintroduced outside after no more than 10 days spent indoors; and they must be planted before spring. Water according to nursery instructions and keep this in mind -- you'll need a yard to accommodate a tree as it grows," says Umbra Fisk, an environmental research associate for Grist, a non-profit online magazine that publishes environmental news and opinion articles. So there is a lot to consider with a live tree, especially if you want to keep it alive after the holidays.

On the other side of the fence, a study released by climate change expert Clint Springer of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia suggests that live trees are a "carbon-neutral purchase." They release negligible amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when they decompose, and local harvesters use less fuel to haul them than the interstate and international shipping of artificial trees.

There are non-toxic artificial tree options out there-it just requires some thinking outside of the box--or should I say, cardboard box? A recycled cardboard Alpine Tree is available from Cardboard Safari.

It's freshly laser-cut from 100% recycled cardboard, an environmentally-friendly and non-toxic material, unlike the plastic used on many fake yule trees. It can be decorated with paint, glitter or light-weight balls or left minimal for the ultra modern green home. Cardboard Safari also offers wreaths and other holiday decorations, so check them out.

But here at Pink Goes Green, we'd recommend going the non-traditional route when it comes to trees. How about giving the planet a great gift this season with one of the following options:

" Plant a memory with a custom gift tree from the Arbor Day Foundation.
" Dedicate a tree to a loved one through TreePeople.
" Become a tree steward through an organization like MillionTreesNYC.
" Plant trees for peace in the tradition of Wangari Maathai by contributing to the Billion Tree Campaign.
" Adopt-a-rainforest through the Rainforest Alliance.

No matter what tree option you choose, we wish you a happy holiday season and best wishes for a greener new year!

Also, see 10 Ways to Recycle Christmas Trees.

Sources: Grist
                  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
                  Arbor Day Foundation