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Debate: Real vs fake Christmas tree

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Should one get a real or fake tree for Christmas?

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  • Real Christmas trees offer more jobs to farmers. Mike Garrett, owner and operator of a Christmas tree farm in Sussex, N.J.: “It allows people with land that may not be the best farmland to have a crop that they can actually make a profit on, and not be under pressure to sell out to developers."[1]
New Yorker Melly Garcia said in December of 2010 to the New York Times: "The trees are coming from a sustainable place, and if you dispose of it properly, it goes back to the earth. So I’m at peace with that.'"[2]
  • Real Christmas tree is greener in general. John Collins Rudolf. "Surprising Data in Real vs. Fake Christmas Tree Debate." New York Times. December 17th, 2010: "Kim Jones, who was shopping for a tree at a Target store in Brooklyn this week, was convinced that she was doing the planet a favor by buying a $200 fake balsam fir made in China instead of buying a carbon-sipping pine that had been cut down for one season’s revelry. 'I’m very environmentally conscious,' Ms. Jones said. 'I’ll keep it for 10 years, and that’s 10 trees that won’t be cut down.' But Ms. Jones and the millions of others buying fake trees might not be doing the environment any favors. In the most definitive study of the perennial real vs. fake question, an environmental consulting firm in Montreal found that an artificial tree would have to be reused for more than 20 years to be greener than buying a fresh-cut tree annually. The calculations included greenhouse gas emissions, use of resources and human health impacts. 'The natural tree is a better option,' said Jean-Sebastien Trudel, founder of the firm, Ellipsos, that released the independent study last year. The annual carbon emissions associated with using a real tree every year were just one-third of those created by an artificial tree over a typical six-year lifespan. Most fake trees also contain polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which produces carcinogens during manufacturing and disposal."


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