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This year, 35 million people will buy real trees for Christmas—but the holiday tree debate now goes far beyond a real versus fake preference. Make greener choices and help give the Earth happier holidays for years to come!

Trees
  • Though plastic trees last longer and may seem like the more eco-friendly choice since they don't require chopping down a real tree, they actually are not the greenest choice. Plastic trees are made up of components like poly vinyl chloride (pvc), which breaks down when it ends up in a landfill. This can pollute our water supply, harm wildlife and damage our health.
  • The greenest option is to find a beautiful potted fir or another plant to decorate that you can replant after the holiday.
  • If you're buying a living tree, go for one specifically farmed for the holiday rather than those chopped down from old growth forests.
  • When buying at holiday tree farms, look for trees grown without pesticides or ones that adhere to organic standards.
  • Buy a locally grown tree. You're saving fossil fuel since you won't have to get it shipped to you or go far to get it.
Decorating Your Tree
  • LED Christmas lights are much more efficient than traditional bulbs and can reduce your energy use by 90 percent. You can find LED lights at most retail or hardware stores like Lowe's, Target or Ace Hardware. They may cost more money up front, but they will ultimately save you money because of their efficiency.
  • Plug your tree into a smart power strip that automatically turns off when you aren't using it. It reduces the flow of unused power, which will reduce your energy bill. Since most of our power comes from coal-fired plants, reducing energy usage also reduces carbon emissions. When the holidays are over, the smart strip can be used for computers, TVs, etc.
  • Decorate with ornaments made out of natural materials, recyclable materials or compost materials, like cranberries and popcorn.
Recycling Trees
  • At the end of the holiday season, almost 10 million trees end up in the landfill. But you can tree recycle! Call 1-800-CLEANUP or visit www.earth911.com for a local service in your area.
  • After you remove your decorations, you can have your tree turned into mulch or chips for your garden…a beautiful way to give back to the Earth!
FROM: Global Warming 101 with Al Gore
Published on December 15, 2006

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