Now that Thanksgiving is over, many of us are beginning to set up our Christmas decorations. Before you buy a Christmas tree, new lights for the house or any other decor, be sure to check out the sustainable options below!
During my sophomore year in college, the last question on my Environmental Chemistry final exam was “Discuss which is better for the environment: an artificial Christmas tree or a real Christmas tree.” As I answered this question, I found myself going back and forth between the two.
Artificial trees can be reused for years, however, they are most often made from PCV (a plastic that emits a lot of pollutants) and are shipped over from other countries. This means that they have a large environmental footprint. In addition, these trees cannot be recycled or composted when it’s time to dispose of them. Meanwhile real trees can be composted after the holiday season is over, however, it takes a lot of resources to grow these trees and they may not be grown locally, which increases their carbon footprint. So what type of Christmas tree is most environmentally-friendly? Here are some greener Christmas tree alternatives:
- Be creative and create your own Christmas tree! Every year at the library, my school would create a Christmas tree out of green books. Meanwhile, people would create a Christmas tree out of lights in their dorm. Check out these 10 Christmas tree alternatives!
- Rent a Christmas tree. Yes, you can actually rent a real Christmas tree. Usually, the organization will drop the tree off at your house and pick it back up after the holiday season is over. The trees are then replanted in forests or cities. Check out RentXmasTree or Our City Forest to learn more!
- Chop down a Christmas tree at a local, organic nursery. You will minimize emissions since the tree does not have to be shipped from far away and you don’t have to worry about pesticides leaching into nearby water sources.
- If you currently have an artificial tree, keep using it! You might be eager to switch to a more eco-friendly alternative, but don’t be in a rush to dump your artificial tree. Keep it out of the landfill for as long as you can, and when it’s time to get a new tree, then you can try out a more eco-friendly alternative.
Decorate the outside of your house using solar powered Christmas lights. They can last up to 10 hours when fully charged, come in different colors and are easy to use!
You can also reduce your energy consumption by using LED Christmas lights. Look for the Energy Star logo when you’re shopping for new lights.
Lastly, conserve energy by setting a timer for your Christmas lights. If you set a timer, then you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn all your Christmas lights off every night.
Ornaments and Garlands
I never truly thought about eco-friendly ornaments until one of my friends introduced the idea to me. My family decorates our Christmas tree with the same ornaments every year, so if that’s what you do, great! However, if you are looking to build your ornament collection, look into eco-friendly options. Keep an eye out for ornaments that can be composted or recycled when it’s time to toss them, that way they don’t end up sitting in the landfill forever.
Natural Living has many cute, eco-friendly ornament ideas, like the stick snowflakes pictured above. They also have many other Christmas decorating tips which are worth checking out.
I personally love the idea of decorating Christmas trees with pine cones. Pine cones are easy to find, smell nice and look great when paired with white LED lights. You also might want to consider adding a natural garland into the mix.
This year I discovered succulent wreaths, and I am obsessed with them! Click here to learn how to create your own living succulent wreath.
Instead of buying an artificial wreath, you might want to invest in a handmade one. Or even better yet, make it yourself! I’ve come across dozens of beautiful wreaths made from various materials, such as herbs, pine cones, cloth and recycled paper. If you’re interested in creating your own wreath this year, check out this site for some inspiration. If you would rather buy a handmade wreath, Etsy is always great!
I hope these small eco-friendly decorating ideas helped! If there is anything that I missed, please let me know below! Also, I would love to hear about your eco-friendly decorating suggestions!