Thursday, December 4, 2008

Green your Live Christmas Tree

If you made the decision this year to go with a real Christmas tree like we have, here are a few ways to make your choice as sustainable as possible.1. buy or rent a living tree if you can. The most sustainable option is to purchase a living tree, which you then plant after the season is over. In San Francisco, San Diego and Portland, you can rent a tree that will be delivered to you, picked up after New Year's, and planted.
  • in Portland, $60,
  • in San Francisco, for $90 Friends of the Urban Forest rents you a living tree - after the holidays they pick it up and plant it on San Francisco's streets.
  • in San Diego Adopt a Christmas Tree will deliver a potted living tree to you via singing elves. They set up the tree for you, then pick it up and replant the tree in areas devastated by California fires.
2. find a tree lot that supports non-profits. With a bit of luck, you may be able to find a beatiful tree that supports a worthy cause. This year, Jacques, the girls and I are volunteering at a local lot that gives 100% of the proceeds to our local schools. Win Win!
3. buy organic if you can. Ask where the trees came from and whether pesticides were used. According to Paul McRandle, deputy editor of National Geographic's the Green Guide, non-organic monocrop tree farms use pesticides such as glyphosate (Roundup), organophosphates di-syston 15-G, and dimethoate, which all cause a host of nasty health issues. Luckily, there are better choices this year.
4. use LED lights on the tree. According to the US Department of Energy, LED Christmas lights create 10 times less CO2 than traditional Christmas lights.
5. ornament wisely. either make your ornaments, or purchase sustainable ornaments like these ornaments from All of their ornaments are made from reused/recycled materials.

6. recycle your tree after the holidays. Trees can be recycled and turned into mulch for gardening, or chipped for use on trails. Use to find local Christmas tree recycling programs.

If you go for a live tree, you can do so guilt free. Enjoy the scent, enjoy the bounty, enjoy the season. I'm sitting here by the fire loving my real tree!

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