We've talked a lot recently about Christmas tree alternatives, like making one out of cardboard, magazines, or a drying rack. But if you just can't pass up the smell of real pine, you don't have to feel guilty. Buy an organic or sustainably-grown tree and then recycle it after the holidays. Here's a list to help you find a tree near you:
Still think an artificial tree is the more eco-friendly option? Well, it's not, according to this article by Grist. Unfortunately most artificial trees are vinyl Chinese imports, and quite a few contain lead. And we're not big on fake, plastic anything, so it's never held much appeal to us. Plus... you can't beat the smell of pine. We got a tree this past weekend, and every time we walk through the front door, we're greeted by the wonderful, woodsy scent of pine. Such a nice way to come home.
The one concern with buying a real tree is—like any living thing we bring into our home, whether food, plant, or other product— is how it was made or grown and what chemicals (if any) were used in the process. Most conventionally-grown Christmas trees have a whole host of pesticides sprayed on them, so to avoid bringing those chemicals into your home, look for tree farms that sell organic trees or use Integrated Pest Management techniques, which use very few pesticides and only when other solutions (such as pest scouting, maintaining ground cover, and using biological controls) fail.
There are a number of resources for finding organic and/or sustainably grown Christmas trees in your area:
• Green Promise: a first-stop resource to organic Christmas tree farms, as well as low-spray and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Christmas trees.
• Local Harvest: search for certified organic tree farms in your area. Also look for farms that service your local farmer's market to avoid traveling very far!
• ToxicFreeNC: located in Raleigh, it lists sources for sustainably grown trees in the state, and has information about pesticides commonly used on Christmas trees.
A few regional highlights:
- California: Black Road Christmas Tree Farms
- California: Silvertip Tree Farm
- Washington: Misty Meadows Farm
- Illinois: Ben's Fraser Fir Farm
- Maryland: Feezers Farm
- New York: Blooming Hill Organic Farm
- New York: Green in Vermont
- North Carolina: What Fir! Tree Farm
- Pennsylvania: Spring Hills Farm
- Tennessee: Glen Ayre Tree Farm
- Texas: Elgin Christmas Tree Farm
(Image: What Fir! Tree Farm, which uses Integrated Pest Management)