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Just like your consumer choices the rest of the year, your seasonal choices can add up to a greener Christmas that’s better for you and the planet. Yes, a real tree is the greener choice. Analysts in Canada examined the life cycle of both real and artificial trees, and concluded that real trees deplete fewer natural resources and don’t contribute negatively toward climate change the way factory-made trees do.
Ideally, your real tree will be from a local farm that uses little to no inputs from synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. We’ve told you previously about efforts to grow organic Christmas trees, which you can find in limited numbers. You can also use natural materials from your own backyard to decorate the mantel and elsewhere without needing to purchase artificial greenery.
When you do want manufactured holiday decor, thrift stores are a great place to start, before visiting retail stores. With holiday lighting, look for the Energy Star label so you can use half the energy of other decorative lights.
Be aware of health concerns about decorative items, due to lax safety oversight in the United States. Scientists at the Ecology Center recently found hazardous lead and flame retardants in beaded holiday garland at a popular big box store.
When the partying and gift giving is over, remember to recycle packaging and older, unwanted items you might be replacing. Plus, this is as good a time as any to start composting kitchen waste to keep that out of the landfill.
Listen to my visit to the NewTalk 98.7 radio studio and chat on The Housing Hour here.