It’s traditional to deck the halls during the holidays with greenery dressed up with bows and lights.
There are also green paybacks to be had in your wallet and the environment based on how “green” you want to go. If you have pets, be aware that there are safety issues with some live green plants as well.
Artificial or natural tree?
Artificial trees are less of a fire hazard and don’t drop needles to create a mess on the floor like the natural ones do. Being pre-lit so all you have to do is plug them in is a time saver as there are no lights to string around the tree. You don’t have to worry about getting this tree outside or delivered for recycling, either. For many, those factors are the tipping point for the artificial tree. And that’s a valid choice for many.
On the other hand, if you love the smell of a fresh evergreen and keep it watered regularly to reduce fire hazard and slow the needle drop, a fresh tree might be the one for you. Even though it seems wasteful to remove a live tree from its natural habitat, you’re actually acting sustainably.
An artificial tree must be used 20 years to have a lower carbon footprint than a natural tree. One acre of Christmas trees growing on a tree farm creates enough oxygen to support 18 people. So if you like the fragrance, control the mess and keep your tree fire safe, go for the natural one.
Other ways to go green:
Pay attention to pets
Decking the halls with live plants is a sustainable decorating choice, but know the limits when it comes to pets. If pets chew on plants, avoid these toxic plants in your holiday décor.
What about poinsettias?
Contrary to urban myth, they are a safe holiday standby. The bracts of poinsettia leaves are not seriously toxic and a much safer plant choice if you have pets. Studies at the Mayo Clinic and Colorado State University’s Fact sheets confirm this.
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